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Help for Overweight Children
There's a standard sitcom line used by Western mothers
to their reluctant brood at the dinner table, "Think of
all the starving kids in India!" Studies reveal that India
is still home to 42% of the world's undernourished
children. Ironically, we also have a growing population
of overfed, under-exercised fat ones — comprising nearly
20% of all urban schoolchildren. Both groups risk
major disease and shortened life-spans. So if your kids M
are overweight, our cover story will help you set things right.
In Odisha, I met a soft-spoken, 48-year-old Robin Hood of sorts.
Achyuta Samanta (page 56) was once poor himself, but worked with a will
and went on to establish massive private educational institutions where
well-to-do students pay for themselves, and this helps educate thou-
sands of poor tribals. Samanta is now taking his tribal school system to
other states. Another story about success against all odds is that of chess
champion Phiona Mutesi (page 72), who is still a little girl. It's people like
Phiona and Samanta that make the heart of this magazine tick.
Amid all the soul-searching, the explanations and opinions following
the notorious December rape in Delhi, I thought one senior journalist,
writing in The Times of India, made a sensible point. Swaminathan Aiyar
wants us to look back at Indian films for answers to why our men harass
women so blatantly. We reproduce that article (In My Opinion, page 43).
The search for Osama bin Laden and his death in a Pakistani hideout is
the subject of this month's Book Bonus. Equally thrilling is another
intercontinental search (Real-Life Drama, page 124), about how a little
boy lost from a Madhya Pradesh village was adopted in Australia 25 years
ago. Research Director Padmavathi Subramanian worked with sources in
MP and our Australian edition to verify every detail of how Saroo Brierley
finally found his birth mother last year. And don't miss Bittu Sahgal
(page 35), just back from Kerala with a new warning on Silent Valley. It
looks like another storm is brewing. « » ^n •%
2 READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d c r s d i g c st . c o . /' n
A pp Store
Visit www.indiatoday.in/apps for more info
Terms & Conditions Apply
Time to Stop
48 Childhood Obesity*
Ageneration of children risk
major diseases, shivani maheshwari
5 6 KISS of Life *
an education and a bright future.
Crazy in Love
Three scientific truths about love,
How to Write (and Read)
a Love Letter
The perfect note for your beloved.
The Game of Her Life
She's the ultimate underdog.
- ~ ■ - ■■ ^- .
Neuroscience is blurringthe
boundary between life and death
* - »~V
Our Living Bridges
These natural wonders are among
India's great cultural secrets.
The Essay That Rocked
A career choice set off a firestorm.
Your Body on Sugar
The sweet stuff is bad foryou.
Letter From a Free Man
A former master gets a witty reply.
The Google Search
for My Amma
Technology helped him get home.
KRISTEN GELINEAU & RAVI NESSMAN
The Last Day of Osama
The terrorist finally meets his end
PETER BERGEN, FROM "MANHUNT"
*On the cover
Hanoi on the Go
Exploring the sights and sounds of Vietnam
■ v.\-^ ..
READEMS DIGEST | = E B R U A R*20 1 3 re
■ 'IV A,
flifltfrfl tfl .•»
Stay u pdated
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React Letters from readers.
Here & Now + Books
@WOrk ALL IN A DAY'S WORK
Ask LaskaS Commonsense advice.
Greenheart Bittu Sahgal discovers
new threats to Silent Valley.
My Story Stephen Fry traces his love
affair with the written word.
In My Opinion * Swaminathan Aiyar
on howourcinema encourages the
harassment of women.
Heroes A Thai lady helps crippled
animals get moving again.
Outrageous! What our boys think
about violence against women.
Laughter the best medicine
Humour in Uniform
Look Twice A marbled flower of faith.
Life's Like That
102 StUdiO SANJAYYAMGAR
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a de r s d i ge s t . c o . in
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READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
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We can't all be
to sit on the
kerb and clap
as they go by.
I wish the whole
see what I see.
have to go up really
high to understand
how small you really
This is agood sign,
having a broken heart.
It means we have tried
Don't aspire to make a
living. Aspire to make a
decided I can't pay a
person to rewind
time, so I may as
well get over it.
one life as
FINISH THIS SENTENCE
LIFE IS LIKE ...
... a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears
we never use. Charles m. Schulz
... an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time,
and sometimes you weep. carl Sandburg
... a great big canvas, and you should throw al I
the paint On it you Can. Danny Kaye
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re a de rsdi ges t . c o . / n
LETTERS FROM READERS
Delhi's Medicine Man
Who says Santa Claus is not
real? Omkar Nath [Delhi's
One-Man Dispensary, Decem-
ber] is a true-life Santa, distrib-
uting the gift of relief to the
needy throughout the year.
Girija Arora, via RD Facebook
The Malayalam poet Kumaran
Asan said, "The wise make
their life meaningful by making
it useful to others." That's what
I recalled when I read about
K.P. Sasidharan Nayar, Alappuzha, Kerala
Delhi's One-Man Dispensary
This senior citizen's self-imposed task is to collect
medicines for the needy
JTVJ halftl} vU MM DHltMf Ux
mm «*«J.- No- tvlh. i tKA
Urtfc* look* *rry Jiffrrral
uffran kun j «n whit k XUbH*
Ami ww wfetf 99 f** «>U(ia*if
Most households would have extra
unused medicines for different
reasons. All of us must find ways to
donate them to the needy.
Niraj Mehta, Bharuch, Gujarat
Scarcity teaches us the utility of
things. Yet, people who can afford
everything sometimes waste so
much without considering how it
may be useful for others.
Ashish Trivedi, via e-mail
Having moved from busy Delhi,
I've wondered how I can be of
service to others in my spare time.
Omkar Nath has shown that all I
need is the will to change things.
Bindiya Gupta, Gandhinagar
I hope "Exercise! But Don't Let It
Hurt You" [December] alerts fitness
buffs and creates a regulatory
authority. A 25-year-old man in my
neighbourhood recently collapsed
and died before he could be treated
by doctors. His untrained trainer
had ignored, even ridiculed, the
serious chest pains this young man
felt during and after exercise, saying
it was only because of the muscles
that were shaping up!
Manoj Dave, Raipur
Anger is not all bad [Why Anger
Is Bad, December]. However,
suppressed anger could lead to seri-
ous physical and mental problems.
Being angry helps get things done:
We should be angry when those
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a de r s d ige s t . c o . i n
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Your journey to the top
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For the 5 th year in a row, VIT has achieved the top spot in placements. Three of
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who are weak are assaulted; when
women are harassed; when a gov-
ernment oppresses its people. Anger
has been the seed of revolutions.
However, we should not get angry
for silly reasons or just a hurt ego. It
is not the emotion called anger that
is at fault. It is taking quick action in
anger that makes anger a short-term
S. Raghunatha Prabhu, Alappuzha, Kerala
Mr Prabhu gets this month's Best
Letter Prize. — Eds
Some disclaimers are downright
hilarious [Quirks, December].
Appended below a story I read was:
"Any resemblance of the characters
in this story to persons living or
dead, is just their bad luck."
Rajeshwari Singh, New Delhi
Our favourite disclaimer is from the
1960s, when Air India used to give
away to passengers a hilarious booklet
titled "Foolishly Yours," by Bobby
Kooka, which described all kinds of
nutty airline passengers and staff The
disclaimer ended thus: "... If among
them you can spot friends or relatives,
the responsibility and credit is entirely
yours." Incidentally, Kooka also created
Air India's Maharaja mascot. — Eds
Death Penalty Debate
Sparing murderers who deserve
the death penalty is not maturity
but misplaced sympathy [In My
Opinion, December]. If all legal
requirements have been fulfilled, the
death penalty must be awarded. But
if it is abolished even for the rarest
of rare cases, the law will be found
wanting! For every argument against
the death penalty, there are equal, if
not stronger ones for it.
K.V. Jagctdheeschand, via e-mail
We all heard of a brutal rape and
murder in Delhi. Should the culprits
be let off without harsh punishment?
Discussions on abolishing capital
punishment may only be philosophi-
Julian Christian, Junagadh, Gujarat
The dear ones of innocent victims
cannot take the law into their hands,
which is why the State is empow-
ered to exercise extreme punish-
ments. This also saves more
innocent people from the same
Criminals. Paresh H. Baldaniya, via e-mail
A death penalty will kill the crimi-
nal, not the crime, since the same
crime would be continued by others
in Society. Nisarg Parmar, via e-mail
Laws are scripted, passed, enforced,
and interpreted by fallible human
beings. Where there are chances of
error, authorizing an act that is
irrevocable is unjustifiable. Retribu-
tion and deterrence should yield
place to reformation in criminal
jurisprudence. C. Divakaran, Trivandrum
The Supreme Court should remain
empowered to reduce a death
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a de r s d ige s t . c o . i n
An inspirational drink that
has become aspirational and
a lifestyle beverage.
Coffee can keep you alert
and therefore helps you perform
better and reduce the stress level
offee in a measure,
is a treasure.
sentence to imprisonment for life,
but with no relaxations or parole.
Pardon, if any, should be solely at
the discretion of the President, and
not on the advice of politicians.
V. Ramanathan, Rengasamudram,TN
In some cases, capital punishment
is the only option. Take the case of
Masood Azhar. India set him free
and he went on to form a terrorist
Outfit. Siddharth Khadke, via e-mail
No one from my family was hurt in
the 26/11 incident in Mumbai, but I
felt the pain and shock like everyone
else. Would I have wished that
Ajmal Kasab be hanged if one of my
own had been killed by him? There
is no easy answer, but I would have
prayed to feel forgiveness in my
Akhil Kishore, New Delhi
For me, Nehru's most important
legacy [The Riddle of Pandit Nehru,
November] was the idea and prac-
tice of secularism. This marks him
out from many of our present-day
Peter Mundackal, New Delhi
Panditj i's contribution to rural
development remains his main
legacy. He divided each district into
blocks, with technocrats of various
disciplines — including a medico,
an agronomist, a veterinarian, an
engineer and a block development
officer. This scheme was not without
blemish, but it has helped rural
An Idea for Zoos
Zoos are indeed prisons, as reader
Brinda Upadhyaya points out [React,
November]. We have no right to
inflict a life of imprisonment, often in
solitary confinement, on other spe-
cies. Zoos could be converted into
wildlife centres of a different kind
with films and other educational
devices. Purnima Lalit Kumar, via e-mail
And How Did Inflation
It would have been useful to also
compare the price of Reader's
Digest [How Inflation Gets You!
December] over the years in your
Mohammad Iqbal, Srinagar
Since 2007, the price ofRD is up 38%
for annual subscribers (who comprise
the vast majority of our readers) and
50% for newsstand customers. This
way, we too may earn our bread and
butter... Modern bread loaf (up 50%),
Amul butter (up 72%) since 2007.
The author of the
best letter, chosen
by the editors, will
receive a prize: The
Reader's Digest book
The Truth About
History priced at
H.S. Ponnuraj, Dharmapuri.TN
^Post opinions to the Editorial address,
(no attachments please). Include your
phone number and address. Letters will
be condensed and edited for clarity.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
For mcrt ■ ■— WW— SMS
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The Ostrich Pillow
Clever lateral thinking or "You've got to
be kidding me"? That depends on how
hard you find itto nod off in public
and how muchyou care about
being stared at whileyou do so.
Originating on the crowd-funding
website kickstarter.com (where I
its inventors sought $70,000 and j
raised $1 95,000), the Ostrich I
Pillow is a soft, padded hood that
creates a "micro-environment" to
enable "power napping."
The creation of Spanish and
Swiss architecture and design studio ^
kawamura-ganjavian,the invention ^B
costs $97 — that's ^5300, as much as a
night in a comfortable hotel — although
you do get to re-use it, provided you can
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
Preeenllag Bra r.xotlra (maternal* - a gourmri collie
munm lro« Ike breaLhlalclag lfui<ur*p«tf of vj aalemal* a
Antigua region. TLe volcanic region nai ike idr»l eJlilaJe
• nd conslttrat dim air, wkich help »n producing coffee
that makes Ibe re*t of tke world envious. IhU mild blend
U blessed wilk * •IlgLlU •wrrl *t flowery fl-vour wltk ft
hint of rpioe. kvery cup will lei yoa discover * svbUe,
lingering aroma taat'i tmpoMlblr lo resltt.
From its beginnings around 2002
with thrill-seekers performing
backflips in parking lots to being
featured in sports goods commer-
cials, extreme pogoing has already
come a long way. The specially-
made sticks bear little resemblance
to the T-shaped bouncy pogo-sticks
of childhood. They feature "air
springs," thrusters and aerospace
aluminium. Guinness World Records
has added "Highest Jump" and
"Highest Forward Flip" pogo
categories and at least one athlete,
American Fred Grzybowski, has
turned professional, taking the ups
and downs of his chosen career in
A fixed-wheel bicycle, which
cannot freewheel and effectively
has one gear. For reasons that
encompass a nostalgic
irony and a desire to be
different in a same-as-
all-your-f riends way,
fixies are the bicycle
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readcrsdigest.co.in
Did you know...
aastu corrections can be done
YES, WITH THE POWER OF PYRAMID-YANTRA 1
What id Vaastu?
Vaastu is an ancient Indian science of architecture and buildings which
helps in making a congenial setting or a place to live and work in a
most scientific way taking advantage of nature, its elements and energy
fields for enhanced wealth, health, prosperity and happiness.
Benefits of Vaastu
It is beneficial as it is a bridge between man, material and nature and
above all it is practical. Build your house according to the guidelines
provided by vaastu and lead a healthy and happy life.
Vaastu corrections and modem living
In this jet-age we are living In ready flats, offices and houses. Also
with all modem style and facilities. So, to break a wall or shift a room
physically according to traditional Vaslu is nearly impossible. Still you
want the benefits of Vastu, what do you do?
Revolutionary Solution - Pyramid Vaastu!
Here comes a practical and result oriented method - PyraVastu?
Now you can correct your Vastu defects with the help of
pre-programmed and FaMa* charged Pyramld-Yantra. This method
virtually makes your house or office Vastu-okay with the energy of
pyramids. Now you can live in the same place and can lead a healthy
and happy life.
Inventions and Research
With over 33 years of research and scientific theory of Pyramid Yantra
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Kudos to the scientists at the Swedish
Royal Institute of Technology who,
through fuel cell pioneering company
myFC, have developed a way of
recharging mobile phones using
only a tablespoon of water. The
PowerTrekk is a potential lifesaver for
people lost in the wilderness, or who
have lost power due to wild weather.
It works by converting hydrogen
(the H in H z O) into electricity via a
"Proton Exchange Membrane." The
only by-product is a little water vapour
and it connects to the phone via a USB
port. It's not cheap at €200 (^14,480),
but it is a very clever solution to
a small-scale energy crisis.
harger that runs
OH, STOP IT!
Putting aside the implied social
messages and looking purely at the
esthetics, Valeria Lukyanova is a little
creepy. Fascinating, sure, but in a
very unsettling way. The Ukrainian
model's claim to fame is how closely
she resembles a life-sized Barbie doll,
skin and all.
such as her 18-inch (46cm) waist have
been achieved through "raw food."
With more than 500,000 "likes"
on Facebook, Lukyanova is one of the
best known of the self-styled "human
dolls," leading agroup which includes
compatriot Anastasiya Shpagina, who
mimics a Japanese animation heroine.
Time to grow up, ladies.
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Great events worldwide, this month
Lemon Festival: Menton, France
Giant sculptures made of citrus fruit like this snail and floats requiring more than 127
tonnes of oranges and lemons — that's Menton on the Cote d'Azur when spring is near.
From February 16 to March 6 the town bursts into a riot of colours for a huge citrus-
scented celebration. You can also try the fruit so come and get your fix of vitamin C.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re ad e rsd ige st. co .1 n
Isle of Mallorca, Spain
What a spectacular sight! In
February the island is transformed
into a sea of blossoms. More than
four million almond trees are bursting
into bloom and frame the still icy
Do you fancy a reindeer sledge tour? Or
would you like to experience true Sami
culture, handicraft and music? Then this
winter market that dates back more than
400 years in Swedish Lappland is a must.
Dates to remember: February 7 to 9.
Admittedly, you have to get up really
early on February 18 to join the unique
morning parade that marks the begin-
ning of the Basel carnival. As the clock
strikes 4am, thousands of fifers and
drummers in colourful costumes, with
masks and fabulously painted lanterns
start moving through the dark city
centre until daylight sets in.
Alpine Ski World Champion
ships: Schladming, Austria
Some 650 world-class athletes from
70 nations will compete cheered by
famous spectators such as Arnold
Schwarzenegger and Kevin Costner.
If you love alpine skiing why not join
them from February 4 to 17?
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge s t . c o . / n
BY A.N. WILSON
Even in a golden age for
books, Louise Yates stands
out as a superb artist and
storyteller. Her latest
Dog Loves Drawing is
about a dog who's given a
sketchbook. His drawings
not only come to life,
but also start drawing
themselves! You'll be
able to read it aloud any
number of times without
DR AWING tm
I love Julia Donaldson
and Axel Scheff ler's
books, and the new one
from the creators of The
Gruffalo is Superworm —
very funny, very inventive
and with the added
advantage of being in
A reissue I can't resist
adding is Rumbelow's
Dance by John Yeoman
with illustrations by
Quentin Blake at his
glorious best. Rumbelow
pays a visit to his grand-
parents and on the way
encounters a whole range
of characters: a sad-faced
farmer, a pig, a poultry-
boy, a peg-lady ...you get
the idea. One of those list
books that children
FOR OLDER CHILDREN
eagerly await any new
book from David Almond,
the author of Skellig,
and this recent offering
The Boy Who Swam with
Piranhas does not
Stanley Potts's Uncle
Ernie is made redundant
from the local shipyards
and starts a fish cannery.
Little by little, Ernie
goes mad, and this tale
uncanny becomes a
circus adventure. Stanley
then finds himself
apprenticed to a man who
swims with piranhas and
as he plunges underwater
he discovers ...well,
himself. It's a beautiful
story. They say it's for
eight-year-olds, but I'm a
bit older than that and
Whether or not you
enjoyed Michelle Paver's
cult fantasy-book Wolf
Brother, you' 1 1 love her
Gods and Warriors, the
first in a new series for
young adults. Set in the
Bronze Age Mediterra-
nean among mysterious
fighters and a dolphin
called Spirit, it has a
compelling narrative and
a well-evoked world.
For grown-ups, the
ultimate holiday treat will
surely be Counting One's
Blessings: The Selected
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e s t . c o . i n
Letters of Queen
the Shadow of Death by
Elizabeth the Queen
Peter James's thrillers, set
James Runcie, a collection
Mother edited by William
in Brighton with the
of longish short stories
Shawcross. Whether she's
detective Roy Grace, have
about a clergyman-detec-
writing about politics to
her mother-in-law Queen
already attracted a
massive following. The
tive in the 1950s and
beyond, is much gentler.
Mary, or about fishing and
poetry to Ted Hughes, she
always sparkled. What a
tonic she was— and
latest Not Dead Yet will
have you hooked from
page one. It's about an
international pop star
Beautiful lye rafted,
these tales are perfectly
placed to become comfort
remains. This book will
revive you from any reces-
turned actress, rather in
the Madonna mould — a
evenings. But enjoy
them as literature first.
sion blues. However dark
Brighton, UK, girl who
1 have become an
the skies, she retains her
returns to her birthplace
addict of Andrew Martin's
sunny, P.G. Wodehouse-
novels starring Jim
Stringer, the sacked
If you want something
royal, but a bit more
bracing, try Jane Ridley's
coruscating Bertie: a Life
\ SfiacfoaJ"! 1 1
L Deat/i j
turned railway policeman
based in York. The
Baghdad Railway Club,
of Edward VII. No one
takes Stringer to
emerges unscathed by the
World War Lit has all the
railway detail that's the
author's wit and disap-
proval. She reserves her
harshest words for
to make a film about the
hallmark of the series, but
Bertie's mother Queen
love life of George IV and
it's also a superbly crafted
Victoria, but the famous
roue prince doesn't always
Mrs Fitzherbert. Even
before her plane has
emerge in a very dignified
light from his innumerable
scandals and scrapes.
Ridley has spentyears
researchingthis book in
touched down, the dodgy
characters have started
to surface, from men
creepily obsessed with
her, to those nursing
I RAILWAY J
I CLUB 1
the Windsor archives, but
grudges. Not for those of
^^ ■ j^l "
the narrative is as fresh as
a nervous disposition.
a comic novel.
Sidney Chambers and
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e s t . c o . i n
V *- * ALL IN A DAY'S WORK
"I didn't mind that his valentine was an e-card.
The big letdown was getting the box ofe-chocolates.
To show his appreciation, a
newly hired Japanese office
worker bought his boss chocolates.
But when he found the box un-
opened, the worker felt insulted and
went ballistic, destroying 22 com-
puters. "I wish his boss had cared a
little more," the employee's
lawyer said. ^^km
From the internet
at the social
I helped an
an — who was
topic for my
third-standard kids was
genetics. Smiling broadly,
I pointed to my dimples and
asked, "What trait do you think
I passed on to my children?"
One student called out, "Wrinkles!
no longer married — fill out
her claim form.
Reading off a question,
I asked, "How did your
"Just fine," she said, grin-
ning a little too broadly.
"He died." wans Bird
The high school was using
our church's recreation
centre for its annual spring
banquet. Since we wanted
to keep the teenagers con-
fined to the gym and out
of the main building, some-
one suggested posting a
Do Not Enter sign on the
door. I knew that wouldn't
work, so I put up another sign that
did the job. It read: Prayer Room.
I ran a store in a small town and
often took calls from remote areas
asking me to deliver food and other
goods to them. On one occasion, I
was asked to send a toothbrush.
^ ^ "Do you want an expen-
sive or a cheap one?"
L, "Make it a good
K. one," was the
^^r arc five of us
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and fungi thus ensuring hygiene and
Managers of golf courses have to
watch out for errant drives, as well
as errant phone calls from custom-
ers like these:
Staff: Golf course. May I help you?
Caller: What are your green fees?
Staff: Thirty-eight dollars.
Caller: Does that include golf?
Staff: Golf course. May I help you?
Caller: Yes. I need to get some
information from you. First, is this
your correct phone number?
Staff: Golf course. May I help you?
Caller: My kids just came home with
range balls and said they stole them
from your driving range. Would you
like to buy them back?
Staff: Golf course. May I help you?
Caller: Yes, we have a tee time for
two weeks from Friday. What's the
weather going to be like that day?
Adding a funny hat to your pyjamas
at home = weird.
Adding a funny hat to your
pyjamas at work = chef.
Comedian Julieanne Smolinski
While reviewing maths symbols
with my students, I drew a greater-
than (>) and a less than (<) sign on
"Does anyone know what these
mean?" I asked.
A boy raised his hand: "One
means fast-forward, and the other
means rewind." Peggy Horachek
My Dog Ate My Alarm Clock
Sixteen percent of employees are
habitually late to work. Here are
some of their lamest excuses:
■ Because of a job interview with
■ Bus was delayed (employee also
produced a note signed by the
■ Hair was hurting employee's head.
■ Employee thought she'd won
the lottery (she hadn't).
Looking for that perfect Valentine's
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^Get paid! Your anecdote is worth ?iooo
FPost it to the Editorial address or
e-mail: editor.india a rd.com
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 read ersd igest . CO. i n
► I hate having my picture
taken. People always make
me feel as though I'm in the
wrong if I refuse to pose or get
in a group photo. These shots
always end up on social net-
working sites with no regard
for people's feelings or privacy.
How do I explain that I don't
want my picture, or my baby's
for that matter, to be taken and
pOSted Online? Camera Shy
I'm with you: I don't want my next
bad hair day documented for the
world to see, and I cringe if I see
one of my kids on some other mom's
Facebook birthday slide show. The
best you and I and like-minded
people can do is encourage others to
join us in formulating some ethical
boundaries for photos and tagging
on social networking sites. No means
no. It's your image, and you should
get to decide if you want it repro-
duced. So go ahead and tell people,
but don't be naive: Photos will be
Jeanne Marie Laskas is not a shrink, but she
does have uncommon sense.
snapped and posted; you will be in
some of them. If you don't want to be
seen doing something stupid, don't
do something stupid.
► My family lives in the country,
and we've never had neighbours until
recently, when a new family built a
place adjacent to ours. Now our kids
play together constantly, and we get
together several nights a week. My
wife and I enjoy the other couple's
company, but the husband sometimes
makes disrespectful comments about
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 read e rs d i ge s t . c o . i n
his wife and kids. His remarks often
cause them to fight in front of us. I
feel I should talk to him about it,
but he's a very "king of his castle"
kind of guy, and I don't want to ruin
the relationship our families are
developing. What can I do?
What are the rules of your house?
Do you allow your kids to beat each
other up? Do you scream and call
them stupid? Of course not. You have
Life's Little Etiquette
► During a recent stay at my place,
my cousin and his wife would con-
sult each other in Spanish before
delivering a response to my ques-
tions. English is his first language
and her second; they're both fluent
in each language. I have no problem
with someone who needs help
translating, but that's not the case
here. I think it's inappropriate that
they speak in Spanish so I won't
know what's being said. Am I being
too sensitive? Would it be rude to
say something to them?
No, you would not be rude. Lapsing into
another language to have a private
word with someone is no different from
whisperingto another behind a shield-
ing hand. This might just be a habit that
has nothing to do with you, so give the
Spanish speakers the benefit of the
doubt: Smile and say, "English, please."
a civil home, and such actions are not
tolerated. Why cut Mr Disrespectful
any slack? Your house, your rules.
You can do this gently. He insults
his wife or kids under your roof,
you say, "Pal, we don't talk like that
here." If he does it again, you say it
again. (Your only choice when visit-
ing his house is to leave.) Keep in
mind that your social life is second-
ary to your role as a parent, and this
is a critical message for your kids to
get: Dad stands up to bullies because
bullying is wrong.
► One of my coworkers knows I go
to the gym, so she asked me which
exercises would help some aches and
pains she's been having. I was sur-
prised by her questions because her
health problems stem from the fact that
she's almost 20 kilos overweight.
Should I have risked offending her by
telling her she needed to lose weight?
You think she doesn't know she
needs to lose weight? You think
pointing this out will somehow
make her see the light? Resist the
urge to become the obnoxious office
health nut. Your office mate has
turned to you for help, and good
for her. Tell her you're no expert,
and suggest a trainer for a consul-
tation. (Remind her, too, that your
exercise plan began with a visit to
the doctor.) Let the pros take it from
there. Your job is to be a supportive
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a de r s d i ge s t . c o . in
BY BITTU SAHGAL
Warning! New Threats to
he whistle woke me in the
gentlest imaginable way.
Still in bed, peering out of
the window, I could see nothing.
It was dark, but the Malabar
Whistling Thrush was persistent
and within two minutes of its
melodious soliloquy wafting
through my window, the bird had
me scrambling for a windcheater,
binoculars and my old trusty
Nikon. A brisk wind, bearing ever-
green forest scents, left me feeling
alive and full of hope as I climbed
the 30-metre-tall watchtower and
waited for the sun to rise and
shine above Silent Valley's
Attappady range. All around me
the earth was as it should be.
Bittu Sahgal is Editor of Sanctuary Asia magazine
and a member of the National Board for Wildlife.
Vibrant. Exquisite. Green. Alive!
I had walked the forests of the
Sathyamangalam and Dimbam, to
the northwest, while on patrol
some years ago with Sanjay Arora,
the superintendent of police who
helped hunt down Veerappan, the
infamous brigand, elephant
poacher and sandalwood smuggler.
As the sky lightened, vast canopies
revealed themselves to me. To the
north was Mukurthi and I could
visualize elephants moving along
its hidden trails between the
wonderland of Silent Valley where
I stood, all the way to Nagarhole
I was on a pilgrimage of sorts in
Sairandhri, the very heart of the
Silent Valley National Park, an
unparalleled Western Ghats
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re ad e rs d i g e s t . c O . / n
biodiversity vault. Like scores of
others, I had played a small role in
supporting the heroes who fought
the epic Silent Valley battle, but
had never once walked the mud
trails of this natural wonderland
Back in 1973, the Kerala State
Electricity Board wanted to
construct a 120-megawatt hydroe-
lectric project at the very spot
where I stood, across the beautiful
Kunthipuzha river. Back then few
people had even heard of Silent
Valley, but mercifully some very
dedicated scientists and active
members of the Kerala Sasthra
Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) fought a
hard battle against the destruction
of this fragile biodiversity hotspot.
Youngsters who now fight for a
natural India would do well to look
up names of scientists such as
Dr Sathish Chandran Nair, Dr VS.
Vijayan, Dr M.S. Swaminathan and
Dr M.K. Prasad, who stimulated
people to think, and poets of the
calibre of Sugathakumari, who lit
fires in innumerable hearts. The
battle was enjoined by thousands
including members of the Bombay
Natural History Society, led by
that grand old man of Indian
ornithology, Dr Salim Ali, won
over Prime Minister Indira
Gandhi, who called a halt to the
project that would have drowned
the home of, among other species,
the threatened lion-tailed
macaque, an endemic Western
Ghats rainforest primate that
became the mascot for the battle
to save Silent Valley.
Over four days I walked 30
kilometres through Silent Valley's
trails in the company of butterflies
and birds, exploring the tick and
leech surrounds of the Bhavani
and Kunthipuzha rivers, hungry to
be where elephants, tigers, lion-
tailed macaques, Nilgiri langurs
and Malabar giant squirrels thrive.
Moving about with a Keralite who
knows and loves the valley deeply,
my spirit lifted with every tired
step as I celebrated the fact that
four decades after the battle was
launched, Silent Valley victory was
But it looks like the war isn't
Speaking with locals I discov-
ered that new threats had
emerged: The Pathrakkadavu
Hydroelectric Project (PHEP) on
the Kunthipuzha, just outside
Silent Valley. This will amputate
forest continuity. Commercial
coffee plantations are also looking
to usurp lands abutting the park.
New roads are contemplated.
New battles are in the making,
large and small. And each one
must be fought, if Silent Valley is
to live. That is what Sugathaku-
mari's Malayalam poem Hemo-
"Even the tiniest wound
starts to bleed,
and blood flows relentlessly
draining away one's life..."
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e ad e rs d i ge s t . c o . i n
BY EMILY COX & HENRY RATHVON
111 ShOrt In recognition of February, the shortest
month, we celebrate all things diminutive. Zip through
this quiz in short order.
Answers on the next page.
i. transient ('tran-
shee-nt or -zee-ent)
adj. — A: short-range.
2. vignette (vin-'yet)
n. — A: small glass.
B: short literary sketch
or scene. C: thin line.
3. bagatelle (ba-geh-'tel)
n. — A: child's rucksack.
B: cell nucleus. C: some-
thing of little value.
4. scintilla (sin- ti-luh)
n — A: short vowel.
B: minute amount.
C: minor crime.
5. myopic (miy-'oh-pik)
adj. — A: too tiny for
the naked eye. B: short-
sighted. C: early.
6. irascible (i-'ra-se-bul)
adj. — A: small-minded.
C: marked by a short
adv. — A: promptly
C: tersely or rudely.
8. tabard Ota-bird)
n. — A: short-sleeved
coat. B: booklet of
verses. C: dwarf
9. arietta (ar-ee- f eh-tuh)
n. — A: tot's playpen.
B: miniature figurine.
C: short melody.
10. niggling Onih-ge-
hling) adj. — A: petty. B:
stunted. C: short-winded.
WORD HISTORY: MICRO AND MINI
Micro is a prefix for little things, as in phones, scopes,
and chips. It comes from the Greek mikros, for
"small, short" (also related: mica, the rock whose
tiny pieces flake off). Mini is another prefix, as in
vans, cams, and skirts. It's related to the Latin min-,
for "smallness," which gives us minor and minus.
And... ever worn a micro-mini?
11. aphorism Oa-feh-ri-
zuhm) n. — A: concise
saying. B: shorthand
writing. C: cut-off
12. staccato (ste-'kah-
toh) adj. — A: of ce-
B: formed into droplets.
13. nib ('nib ) n. —
A: crumb on a plate.
B: point of a pen.
C: matter of seconds.
14. exiguous (ig-'zi-gye-
wes) adj. — A: inadequate,
scanty. B: momentary.
C: reduced by one
15. truncate Ctrun-kayt)
v. — A: compress by
squeezing. B: speed up.
C: shorten by lopping off.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e ad e r s d /' g e s t . c o . i n
i. transient — [C] short-lived.
The half-time lead proved
transient, as the football
team racked up four goals
after the break.
2. vignette — [B] short
literary sketch or scene.
Dickens created char-
acters from prose vi-
gnettes like little
3. bagatelle— [C] ,
something of little
value. My stories
aren't prized works,
just personal bagatelles.
4. scintilla — [B] minute
amount. There's not
one scintilla of evidence
against my client.
5. myopic — [B] short-
sighted. Sridhar's myopic view of the
project surely led to its collapse.
6. irascible— [C] marked by a short
temper. If Jai were any more irascible,
he'd have smoke coming out his ears.
7. expeditiously — [A] promptly and
efficiently. As a pick-me-up, a triple
FEB-YOO OR FEB-ROO?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary
says either: "Feb-yoo-ary" (com-
monly heard in the US) and the
seemingly more precise "Feb-roo-
ary" are both correct (the dictionary
lists the "yoo" version first, in fact).
The loss of the "r" is by a process
called dissimilation, when a speaker
changes or omits one of two identi-
cal or closely related sounds.
espresso works expeditiously.
8. tabard— [A] short-sleeved
coat. My entire Hamlet cos-
tume consists of a wooden
sword and this tabard.
9. arietta— [C] short melody.
The goldfinch trilled an
arietta, reminding us
that spring would
10. niggling— [A]
petty. Mom, you're
driving me bonkers
with your niggling
11. aphorism — [A]
concise saying. My father
has an aphorism for any
12. staccato — [C] discon-
nected. Maansi's hilarious
laugh comes in sharp, staccato barks.
13. nib — [B] point of a pen. A faulty
nib, Arpana complained, ruined her
score at her final drawing test.
14. exiguous — [A] inadequate, scanty.
Ever a big eater, Rohan found even the
jumbo burger a bit exiguous.
15. truncate — [C] shorten by lopping
off. According to mythology, the
gruesome Procrustes would truncate
his guests if they were too long for
• 9 and below: Came up short
• 10-12: Short and sweet
• 13-15: Made short work of it
To play an interactive version
of Word Power on your iPad or
Kindle Fire, download the
Reader's Digest app.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a de r s d ige s t . c o . i n
Puts that spring bock in life
Leaders In Orthopaedics, Joint Replacement,
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Rated as one of the 6 Best Hospitals in India for Orthopaedics
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HOSMAT is an abbreviation for Hospital for Orthopaedics,
Sports Medicine, Arthritis, Accident-Trauma. The
Arthritis and Joint Replacement Centre is combined with
HOSMAT Neuro Centre and HOSMAT Spine Centre. HOSMAT is
a super major specialty hospital, located in central Bangalore.
It is the first comprehensive hospital in India specialising in
orthopaedics, sports medicine, arthritis, accident, trauma and
neurosciences, and is the largest specialty hospital of its kind in
Asia. There are 40 orthopaedic surgeons— the largest number
in India, of whom the majority are full time at HOSMAT and
others are Qualified visiting Surgeons. Also, there are three
spine and neuro surgeons, and other consultant specialists,
from various departments like MRI and Radiology, Anaesthesia,
Neurology and Neurosciences, Plastic & Reconstructive
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Rheumatology and Pathology, G. I. Endoscopy.
In the past 20 years, HOSMAT has gained a reputation, as
one of the best hospitals in orthopaedics and its subspecialties,
joint replacement arthroscopy, children's ortho, hand, spine,
arthritis, llizarov, sports medicine and reconstructive surgery,
making it the first orthopaedic and joint replacement hospital. It
is rated as one of the 6 Best Hospitals for Orthopaedics in India.
In Neurosurgery & Neurology, it has the best qualified
consultants in the field with all the latest equipment for medical
and neurosurgical treatment of brain, spinal cord, disc prolapse
of the neck and lower back as well as cervical spondylosis and
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FIRST HOSPITAL OF ITS KIND
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The various surgeries and
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PERSONAL STORIES BEYOND
THE CALL OF DAILY LIFE
'Have You Heard of
A modern-day poet, actor, author and playwright
recalls the humble beginnings of his love affair
with the written word
BY STEPHEN FRY
grew up in the English country-
side. The nearest major library
was a 20km bicycle ride into the
city of Norwich. Every other
Thursday, a mobile library would
park five minutes' walk from our
house. This was my lifeline to the
outside world. A quaint battleship-
grey modem that linked me to the
huge past and present that seemed
so impossibly far from the lanes of
Aged 11, one Saturday afternoon I
sat in front of our little black-and-
white television set and watched a
film called The Importance of Being
Earnest. It left me simply boggling
I had never heard language used
in such a way, never known the
rhythms of a sentence could be so
beautiful, that meanings could turn
with such wit on the hinge of a
"but" or an "unless." I remembered
whole lines of dialogue and re-
peated them. I watched the credits
roll by and memorized a name.
The following Thursday I ran to
the corner of the lane and threw
myself inside the mobile library.
"Have you heard of Oscar Wilde?" I
squealed to the cardiganed librarian
"Do you have a play he wrote called
The Importance of Being Earnest?"
After what seemed an age we
found a copy, which was duly
stamped. I ran home and into my
I read The Importance of Being
Earnest three or four times a day
every day for two weeks. Then I
returned it. I knew the play off by
heart and can still distress compan-
ions with long quotations from it.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge st . c o . i n
"What else do you have by Oscar
Wilde?" I wanted to know. It was a
different librarian and she found
me a copy of the Complete Works.
Two weeks later I was back to
have it re-stamped. I had read it
cover to cover, but I wanted to read
it all again and again.
Another Library Thursday came
and I reluctantly returned the
Complete Works and asked if there
was anything else by Oscar Wilde.
"The Complete Works means the
complete works," the librarian
"But there must be something
The librarian looked ^^^^^^
me up and down. She
walked along the
central corridor of the
van and stooped low in
the biography section.
Her face was flushed
as she straightened
and placed a book into
my hands. "I really
don't know if ... how
old are you?"
"Thirteen," I lied.
The book was The
Trials of Oscar Wilde.
It was written by
H. Montgomery Hyde.
It changed my life.
The heroic lord of
language who had
captivated me so
entirely turned out to
have had a secret life.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.it)
And the more I read the faster my
heart beat. For I knew that I shared
the same secret. I had never quite
dared tell myself this truth but
reading of Wilde's arrest and trial
I could not but know it to be true.
It was shattering, terrible, liber-
ating, stimulating, appalling, won-
derful and incredible all at once.
The mobile library a fortnight
later had nothing more to offer so
the following morning I caught a
little motor coach early in the
morning and went to Norwich
City's great library.
It was here that I discovered how
one book could lead to another.
Bibliographies and footnotes
suggested new names, new books,
new writers, whole new areas to be
discovered. It was an analogue,
card-indexed way of mouse-clicking
from one link to another. A little
more laborious perhaps, but breath-
Over the next few years the trial
and trail of Oscar led me to read
Gide and Genet, Auden and Orton,
Norman Douglas and Ronald
Firbank. I read of man-love, boy-
love and free love.
For a gay youth growing up in
the early 1970s, a library was a way
of showing I was not alone. There
was an element of breathtaking
possibility, even the chance of a
fumbled encounter, but there was
vindication too. Some of the best,
finest, truest, cleverest minds that
ever held a pen in their hands had
been like me.
This caused me to educate myself
to a degree which was beyond any-
thing a school could hope to achieve.
My own appetite for knowledge and
reading had led me, and that is how
education works. Between the ages
of 12 and 14, 1 read hundreds and
hundreds of books, but more impor-
tantly I became unafraid of reading.
Great writers were to be embraced
and befriended. Even if their names
were terrifyingly foreign and intel-
Baudelaire or Cavafy, they turned out
to be charming and wonderful and
quite unalarming after all.
By the time I was 14 1 knew
that being gay was a kind of dark
blessing, an awful privilege and I
knew that, as Oscar once wrote on
a photograph to an admirer, "The
secret of life is in art."
Without libraries none of this
would have been possible.
THIS IS AN EDITED EXTRACT OF STEPHEN FRY'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE LIBRARY BOOK,
© 2012 FOR THE READING AGENCY, PUBLISHED BY PROFILE BOOKS, $24.99
Some people obviously find it hard to chill out, even on holiday — as
reader Marilyn Martin found out. She kept a note of the most bizarre
complaints she received while working on villa-maintenance reports
"I want the weather vane taken off the roof. It moves around when I'm
sunbathing and annoys me."
"Please send someone round to change the lounge curtains. My wife
can't stand them." [A phone call from a man whose wife could be heard
sobbing noisily in the background.]
'The beam from the lighthouse shines into our bedroom and disturbs
my sleep. Kindly get them to turn the light off at night."
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
BY SWAMINATHAN S. ANKLESARIA AIYAR
Our Films Sanctify Pestering
and Stalking of Women
Item numbers and rape scenes aren't the main prob-
lem, "eve-teasing" heroes and simpering heroines are
from The Times of India
he ghastly assault and rape of
a female paramedic in Delhi
has produced an avalanche
of protest and comment on why we
treat women so badly. But a major
cause, the film industry, has hardly
been mentioned. It has fostered
thoroughly retrograde male
attitudes that are at least partly
responsible. Some feminists focus
on the commodification of women
in Bollywood's "item numbers,"
sex-laden dances by Isha Kop-
pikar, Mallika Sherawat and others.
Others highlight the popularity of
rape scenes to titillate audiences.
Old-time villain Ranjeet did close to
100 rape scenes, with the audience
almost cheering him on.
Yet item numbers and rape scenes
are not the main problem. After all,
cabaret dancers and villains are not
Swaminathan S.A. Aiyar, 70, is consulting editor
of The Economic Times and a noted columnist.
role models. What's truly terrible
is the manner in which film heroes
have for decades pestered, stalked
and forced their unwanted atten-
tions on heroines in a thousand
films, yet ended up getting the girl.
That sends the most outrageous of
all messages to the public: pestering
girls is what heroes do, and a girl's
"no" actually means "yes."
Hit film songs that glorify harass-
ment and stalking have compounded
the problem. These are perpetu-
ated in memory and social attitudes
through repeated humming of the
songs and viewing of video clips.
Dev Anand was the great roman-
tic lover of my youth. We watched
him serenade Nalini Jaywant in the
film Munimji ("Jeevan ke safar mein
rahi"), while pawing and pestering
her. His role was equally obstreper-
ous with Nutan in the film Paying
Guest, with the hit song "Mana
reader's digest February 2013 rea de rsdiges t. co. in
"Listen to me lady! Now you run round
tree while he climbs down. And then let
gently chase you again!"
janab ne pukara nahin." The song's
words frankly admit that although
he is not welcome at all, he must
insist on gaily forcing his attentions
on her. For decades audiences sang
these songs, barely conscious of the
sordid values they implied.
Raj Kapoor couldn't be far behind.
In his opus Sangam he sang a
megahit while pestering a bathing
Vyjayanthimala: "Mere man ki
Ganga, aur tere man ki Jamuna
ka, bol Radha bol sangam hoga ke
nahin." As justification for this
boorishness, he stuck a feather in
his hair in imitation of Lord Krishna,
who also harassed bathing gopis.
Whereas Krishna played on the
flute, Raj Kapoor played on Scot-
tish bagpipes, a variation difficult to
explain except as a side-effect of the
actor's fondness for Scotch whisky.
strode the Bollywood
scene like a colossus.
Of all the characters
he played, the biggest
contribution to female
degradation was in the
film Hum. In this, he
and a gang of maybe 300
leering males demand a
kiss from actress Kimi
Katkar — the hit song
"Jumma chumma dede."
Katkar sings back that
she will not give a kiss.
The male leerers insist
on a kiss and douse
her with a hosepipe.
Ultimately, after several refusals,
the song ends with Bachchan finally
getting his kiss. He emerges grin-
ning from the melee with lipstick
smeared across his face. There could
hardly be a more graphic message:
if only you harass a woman enough,
no matter how often she says no, she
will ultimately say yes.
The greatest Hindi film of all time
was probably Sholay. This had Dhar-
mendra giving one more version of
how to win a girl. He jumps on the
tonga [horse carriage] of tongawali
Hema Malini, serenading her and
grabbing her from behind. She fights
him off, knocking him off the tonga.
But he once again climbs aboard and
continues with his musical harass-
ment. The song goes, "Koi hasina jab
rooth jaati hai to, aur bhi hasin ho
jaati hai." (translation: when a beau-
SOURCE: THE TIMES OF INDIA © 2012, BENNETT, COLEMAN & CO. LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
READER'S digest FEBRUARY 2013 reac/e rsd igest.co.in
tiful girl gets pissed off with you,
she becomes even more beautiful).
Does he go to jail for this behaviour?
Alas no, she falls into his arms!
Great are the rewards of harassment.
I don't see films in other Indian
languages. Some say they are even
cruder, so let's not blame Bollywood
alone. I'm told such crudity doesn't
happen in big Bollywood films
any more. Really? I saw Rockstar,
in which Ranbir Kapoor forces his
attentions on a girl, who initially
resists but then asks him to take her
to a raunchy film!
Let the last word come from
somebody in the film business:
"There are films in which romantic
wooing has been replaced by a kind
of harassment of the heroine. The
heroes of these films could be
considered stalkers in some civil
societies. Now imagine that this
actor is a role model to millions...
wouldn't his fans think this behav-
iour is okay? Now imagine that this
actress is a role model to millions...
what message does it send to
women across the country?"
These are the words of actor-
director Farhan Akhtar. When he
says things are getting worse, please
|t Have our films contributed to the sorry
W state of affairs where eve-teasing
and rape are on the increase? What's the
solution? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
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She helps disabled
animals get back on
BY JUTARAT TONGPIAM
rowing up in Bangkok,
Galwalin Surakup was
surrounded by dogs —
both her mother and many of her
neighbours kept them as compan-
ions and watchdogs. One day over
five years ago, Singto, the family's
playful big brown chow chow, fell ill
and was unable to walk.
A veterinarian diagnosed an
intervertebral disc disorder. At nine
years of age, the dog was too old for
surgery. All the vet could do was
offer medication to help relieve
Singto's symptoms. "After taking
him home, I noticed that he tried
to drag himself along the floor,"
Galwalin recalls. It was, she says,
unbearable" to watch.
Working as a secretary at the time,
Galwalin knew very little about
treating dogs. But she decided she
had to do something to help Singto
get moving again. |
nary hospitals and searching online,
she learnt that dog wheelchairs
were available overseas, but they
cost up to 20,000 baht (^36,000)
Galwalin was willing to pay the
price, but the designs were not suit-
able for Thailand's humid climate.
The wheelchairs were padded with
leather, which made them hot, un-
comfortable and a breeding ground
for germs. Instead, she set out to
create a local wheelchair for dogs.
Over the next year Galwalin
designed a model made of a steel
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 read ersd igest.CO.in
frame, rubber wheels and velvet
covering, and hired metal workers
to start manufacturing. She tested
the prototypes on Singto and 40
other disabled dogs she learnt about
through her veterinarian friends.
The units were custom-built for
each dog. "Basically I had to make a
correct calculation based on weight
and material of the wheelchair, size
of wheel, age of animal, and symp-
toms or handicap. The efficiency of
the wheelchair would depend on the
owner's care as well as the animal's
ability to adjust," she says.
Developing the wheelchairs
consumed all of Galwalin's free
time. "My parents were afraid I
would go out of my mind because
every day I would go nowhere and
do nothing except watch my dog
very closely," she recalls.
"One day my family wanted me
to go on holiday with them. I agreed
to go on condition that I would
borrow a pick-up truck from a
friend. I sat at the back with Singto."
Slowly she became aware of the
widespread demand for animal
wheelchairs, so she decided to quit
her job and start a business manu-
facturing and distributing her
wheelchairs. Today, she makes about
150 a month and has begun export-
ing them to Malaysia, Indonesia and
even the US and Belgium — at about
half the price of imported models.
Galwalin says she has no interest
in making a profit, and sells the
wheelchairs at cost. She also gives
wheelchairs for free to pet owners
who cannot afford to pay. "My real
intention is to help disabled animals
to stand on their feet and walk again,
I want them to enjoy running joy-
fully just like they did before they
fell ill," she says.
"I want the owners to play an
active role in helping them. It is
wrong to put the wheelchair on and
leave it there permanently. Like an
artificial limb, a wheelchair has to
be taken off from time to time."
Galwalin, now 36, also encourages
pet owners to give their wheelchairs
back after their pet dies. With some
adjustment, they can be used for
another animal in need. She has ex-
panded her range to include wheel-
chairs for cats, rabbits and ferrets.
She is even exploring the possibility
of an elephant wheelchair.
Whatever the species, Galwalin
always takes pride in seeing pets get
back on their feet. "After regaining
their movement, some of them even
appoint themselves the leader of
the pack by showing their peers that
they are fastest runners," says
Singto, too, was transformed by
his wheelchair. Although he died in
2009, his final years were happy.
Says Galwalin, who is now married
and has a young daughter, "He was
the same Singto — alive and light-
hearted — as he was when he could
still move around on four legs."
For more details or contact, visit
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 rca dc r sdiges t. CO . in
A generation of obese urban Indian children face
huge medical risks and reduced life-spans. How
can parents and schools fight this problem?
BY SHIVANI MAHESHWARI
By the time he was nine years old,
Aftab Solanki weighed 49 kilos, nearly
twice the normal weight for boys his
age. His doting parents and neigh-
bours considered him "healthy," often
describing or calling Aftab "cute."
His sluggishness and increasing
appetite, his periodic breathlessness,
occasional dizzy spells and pain in the
knees were all dismissed as things that
would disappear once he grew up.
"But as his weight kept increasing, we
became concerned and wanted to
consult a good doctor," says Aftab's
father, Mohammed Ramzan Solanki.
Kids like Aftab are part of a fast-
growing national urban epidemic
seen over the past few decades. It's an
irony that despite there being more
undernourished children in India
reader's digest FEBRUARY 2013 reade rsd igest.co.in
than in any other country, we also
have millions of obese and overweight
urban schoolchildren. And experts
say these obese children will one day
face severe medical consequences.
Compared to children of normal
weight, obese ones face several times
the risk for developing high blood
pressure, respiratory complications,
Type-2 diabetes (the most common
form of the disease), cardiovascular
disease and cancer — and, indeed,
much reduced life-spans.
"The medical consequences of
obesity are seen at all ages, even
among kids," says Dr Vaman Khad-
ilkar, consultant pediatric endo-
crinologist at Jehangir Hospital, Pune.
"Our youngest Type-2 diabetic is a
six-year-old, while a hypertensive
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re a d e r s d i g e s t . c o . / n
patient is just eight. High levels of
cholesterol and triglycerides — both of
which increase the risk of cardiovas-
cular disease — are seen in children
very frequently nowadays, unlike in
the past. And we routinely see these
high levels in obese children."
It's a time bomb waiting to explode
once these children become adults,
making obesity one of the most seri-
ous public health challenges of the 21st
century. In 2010, Dr Khadilkar and his
researchers conducted studies at 11
affluent urban schools from five zones
across India. They found 18.2 percent
of all kids aged two to 17 to be over-
weight or obese as per international
MUCH TV AND
standards. Other studies too have
come up with similar figures.
"During the past three decades,
obesity rates have doubled for pre-
school-age children and adolescents
and tripled for school-going children
aged 6 to 11 years," maintains Dr Rekha
Harish, professor and head of pediat-
rics at Government Medical College,
Jammu, who is also national convener
of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics'
task force for the prevention of child-
hood obesity. "Overweight children
have a 70 percent chance of being an
overweight or obese adult, by which
time it may be too late to intervene.
Childhood obesity's enormously-
growing rate needs urgent attention
if its potential toll on morbidity,
mortality, and the economy is to be
It's not just that obese children suffer
physical problems; their mental health
takes a hit too. Manisha Rohera is ea-
ger to tell her story. "At the age of 15,
I weighed 80 kilos," she recalls. "When
the other children
yearned to be in the
limelight, I was busy
hiding from the world
to avoid embarrass-
ing comments or peo-
ple staring at me."
Manisha would ha-
bitually feign stom-
ach pain or headaches
to escape sports and
other school activi-
ties. So, she'd often be
home watching TV — and snacking
away, only making matters worse.
"Even shopping for clothes was
frustrating," she says. "Not finding
anything good my size, I'd end up
Manisha's shame wasn't imaginary.
People tend to discriminate against
those who are obese. "Obese people
ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE BY ANNE CASSLEMAN
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readcrsdigost.co.in
feel isolated and suffer from an
acute lack of confidence," says the
octogenarian Dr Vinod A. Dhurand-
har, obesity consultant and founder-
president of the All India Association
for Advancing Research in Obesity.
Dr Dhurandhar weighed 90 kilos in
his youth and managed to lose 27 with
diet control before setting up his
obesity clinic in Mumbai. During the
last 50 years, he has treated over
200,000 patients. "At least 40 percent
of them were children and adoles-
cents," he says. "An increasing number
of youngsters are coming to us
Experts correlate the growth of
childhood obesity in India with the
growing middle-class affluence of re-
cent decades. There is also the belief
that being chubby is healthy, a hango-
ver from the days when most Indians
were thinner and poorer. "Obesity is
a negative outcome of our improving
socio-economic status and changing
lifestyles — we eat more, eat unhealthy
food and move less than ever before,"
says Dr Abhishek Kulkarni, pediatric
and adolescent endocrinologist
at Mumbai's Jaslok Hospital and
"Today, many children spend a lot
of time being inactive and simultane-
ously overeating," says Dr Rekha
Harish. "An average child spends
about four hours a day with television,
the internet, mobile phones or video
games during which they often
snack on fast food and gulp down
a lot of sugary soft drinks, all of which
WHAT PARENTS AND
TEACHERS MUST FOLLOW
FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
• Make children and adolescents parti-
cipate in at least 60 minutes of physical
activity every day.
• For preschoolers, most physical
activity will be unstructured; playing
outdoors is particularly helpful.
Encourage physical activity in this
age group by just "prescribing"
• For older children, encourage
structured physical activity when
possible (team or individual sports,
or supervised exercise sessions).
Children are more likely to partici-
pate consistently when they are
accountable to a coach or leader.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) recommends at least 30 minutes
of structured physical activity during
the school day. Refrain from withhold-
ing recess as a punishment.
FOR SCREEN TIME
• TV, computer and video games should
be considered a privilege, not a right.
• There should be no TV in bedrooms.
• No eating while watching TV (Warning:
a lot of commercials with children's
programs are related to food!). Televi-
sion viewing is perhaps the best estab-
lished environmental influence on the
development of obesity during child-
hood. Limit screen time to less than
two hours per day. (AAP recommends
14 hours per week.)
• Take physical activity breaks during
READER'S digest FEBRUARY 2013 readersdiges t. CO. in
can add up huge calories."
Inactivity and junk food make a
dangerous mix. Yet, according to a
survey by the Associated Chambers
of Commerce and Industry of India
(ASSOCHAM), there has been a major
shift in food habits in our metros,
where about 86 percent of households
prefer processed, instant foods, thanks
to a steep rise in income levels and
living standards, convenience and
It is, therefore, adults who can play
a pivotal role in both controlling as
well as causing obesity in children.
Dr Ravindran Kumeran, the Chennai-
based founder-trustee of Obesity
Foundation India, says the onus is on
parents and educational institutions
to correct this trend. "Parents are the
best role models, so if they inculcate
in their children correct habits and
lifestyle choices at a tender age, the
incidence of childhood obesity will
surely decline. If parents exhibit un-
healthy habits, there is a very high
risk of obesity among their chil-
dren. It is also much harder to treat
Schools too must provide an envi-
ronment that promotes healthful eat-
ing and physical activities. But in a
recent study on school sports skills
IS YOUR CHILD OBESE? A ROUGH GUIDE
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Body Mass Index (BMI)
is a measurement tool that
compares height to weight
and gives an indication of
whether an individual is
or at a healthy weight for
their height. To calculate
BMI, take weight and
height measurements and
do the following
Height (m) x Height (m)
Take the resulting BMI
figure, find it on the chart,
then go to your child's age
to find what range they're
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge st . c o . i n
and fitness, conducted among 49,046
children in 104 schools across 54
Indian cities by EduSports, a Banga-
lore-based sports education company,
it was found that one out of two
school-going children between ages
seven and 17 are growing up without
the fundamental skills needed to en-
gage in sports. "You can't blame chil-
dren for this," says Saumil Majumdar,
co-founder and CEO, EduSports. "It
is we adults who are not providing
them opportunities to play. We are
snatching away their playgrounds and
open spaces. It is not junk food alone
that is making them obese — it is the
junk lifestyle we provide them."
■■ ■ : I ■ I J I
T 1 1 1 i ! ! 1 F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Indeed, some schools across the
country are slowly waking up to the
growing obesity problem, making
playtime and yoga compulsory for
their students. Some schools conduct
annual health checks and discuss mat-
ters with parents and the school
dietitian, if a child is overweight. Oth-
ers have revamped their canteen
menus. "We've banned chips and aer-
ated drinks from our canteen and in-
troduced healthier options like idlis
and light sandwiches," says Mukta
Nain, principal of Kolkata's Birla High
School. "We've really reduced fried
stuff and cheese, for instance."
Meanwhile, Dr Paula Goel, physi-
cian for adolescents
and director of Fayth
Clinic in Mumbai, has
started a gymnasium
and weight-loss work-
shops for teenagers.
She maintains that the
dietary and physical
behaviour of children
and adolescents are in-
fluenced by many sec-
tors of society: family,
media, and the food
and beverage industry.
"So we all need to work
collectively to combat
obesity in children and
treat it as a disease
rather than a cosmetic
problem," she says.
In Western coun-
tries, where obesity in
children is a much
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge st .c o . i n
older problem, there have been such
collective efforts. In France, a private
initiative called EPODE (the French
acronym for "Together let's prevent
childhood obesity") recruits stake-
holders not just from schools but from
all levels of a community to fight
childhood obesity — small business-
men, mayors and food vendors as well
as teachers and parents all work to-
gether to spread messages about
healthy living throughout the com-
munity. "The objective is to modify
the lifestyle of the whole population,"
explains Jean-Michel Borys, director
of EPODE's European Network.
FOOD IS A
FOR ANY KID.
Such efforts may be paying off. The
most recent statistics from France,
Germany, Sweden, Switzerland
and some parts of Italy and Austria
indicate that childhood obesity rates
might be levelling off and even
dropping in some cases.
Remember Manisha Rohera? At 90
kilos, troubled by shame and a few
failed marriage proposals, she decided
to lose weight. In consultation with a
doctor, she began a three-hour daily
regimen of light exercises, including
walking. "I never stopped, not for a
single day," beams Manisha. "Even
during the monsoons, I'd walk holding
an umbrella." She also reworked her
diet, eliminating fried foods and
sweets and included more of fruits,
vegetables and sprouts. Today, aged
39 and down to 52 kilos, she is proud
of her achievement. Having realized
the importance of being disciplined
and fit, she is helping others with
similar problems. She studied to
become a dietitian and deals with
over 40 patients a day. Manisha
got married too.
doctor advised Aftab
Solanki's parents to
make him take up
some physical activi-
ties and control the
boy's diet. Now he
eats mainly fruits and
salads. Today, Aftab
weighs a healthy 37
kilos. He plays several
games and rides a
bicycle. He no longer has pain in the
knees and is able to carry his school-
bag comfortably without panting. "He
is also much happier and mingles con-
fidently with his friends," says his dad,
Mohammed Ramzan. "What was once
the prospect of poor health and a bleak
future for my son changed my percep-
tion about how healthy children should
be. Nowadays I even tell other parents
not to dote on their fat children in the
belief they're 'healthy'." ■
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e st . c o . i n
AN OPEN PHOTO-EDITORIAL
£W^M hese older men ought to
^ * understand modern atti-
tudes." "You can't let him get
away with such outdated statements."
Commonly repeated lines — or words
to that effect — from younger, politi-
cally correct experts in prime-time
TV debates. They followed recent
"gender-insensitive" statements made
by older men, all public figures like a
godman in Gujarat, an RSS leader, a
So you think all that's going to
change once the reins of leadership
are handed over to today's youth?
In "A Report Card on Adolescents,"
an extensive worldwide study by
UNICEF of adolescents, India figures
prominently. Adolescent boys in the
15-to-19 age group were asked
whether or not "they think that a
husband is justified in hitting or
beating his wife under certain
circumstances, i.e., if his wife burns
the food, argues with him, goes out
without telling him, neglects the
children or refuses sexual relations."
As many as 57% of Indian boys
replied "Yes." And India figures
among just 14 countries (among them
Uganda, Ethiopia and Azerbaijan)
where the Yes figure crossed 50%.
The report explains that such a
response among adolescent boys "re-
flects societal views that accept such
practices when women and girls have
a lower status or when they do not
fulfil certain expected gender roles."
Gender bias takes root early.
Unless that's addressed, nothing
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e ad e rsd ige st .co. i n
A go-getter with a big
heart, he is educating
thousands of poor tribal
kids from KG to PG
BY MOHAN SIVANAND
At 17, Prakash Chandra Murmu has spent
most of his life at a boarding school in
Bhubaneswar, where he was admitted as a
small child in 2003 with Bikash, his older
brother. Recently, his school sent Prakash, who
likes science and is a keen sportsman, to a
week-long international English-language
camp in Taiwan. Earlier he'd been to London
to play rugby. "It's been good here," says
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a dc rs digc S t . C O . in
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
Prakash. "My school has given me so
It might seem as if Prakash attends
an exclusive international school,
where his parents pay lakhs of rupees
in fees. Actually, his is a free school
founded for poor tribals by an unas-
suming 48-year-old bachelor named
Achyutananda Samanta, who lost his
factory-worker father when he was
five and endured abject poverty. "Ed-
ucating just one generation of tribal
children can change their communi-
ties," says Samanta.
Prakash, a Santal tribal now doing
his BSc, is just back at his school-
neglected," explains Mahendra
Prasad, a director with the Kalinga
institutions. "And tribal child mortal-
ity remains very high."
"Odisha has 62 scheduled tribes,"
adds Samanta. "They're the poorest
of the poor. But give their children
an education and they become no
different from you and me."
Prakash smiles in assent and intro-
duces some of his schoolmates.
There's BCom student Tani Murmu.
Seema Hansda is in her second-year
MBBS, Saudagar Hansda is doing his
LLB, while MA economics scholar
Sanjukta Rani Hembram wants to
'Educating just one generation
of tribal children can
CHANGE THEIR COMMUNITIES.
cum-college, the Kalinga Institute of
Social Sciences (KISS) after the vaca-
tions. Housing around 16,500 tribal
students this year, KISS is arguably
one of the world's largest residential
schools. Had Prakash remained in his
remote tribal village of Gopiabandha
in Odisha, he might never have got
any education, or even dreamt about
exclusive camps or sports tourna-
ments abroad — all that if he survived
childhood. "My village is very back-
ward," he says. "The local school is
not good. And when people fall ill,
they're taken on a bicycle for long
distances to reach a doctor."
"Odisha's tribals, nearly a quarter
of the state's population, are grossly
specialize in rural education and
return to her tribal roots as a teacher.
They've all grown up at KISS with
Samanta — who is not a tribal — fulfill-
ing their basic right to an education.
"At KISS," says Samanta, who habitu-
ally plays with his English phrases,
"we offer an education from KG
As Samanta explains the risks of
caring for and managing so many
children ("More than 50 may be sick
at any time"), in the schoolyard out-
side swarms of boarders, from tiny
tots to teens, are served lunch. They
queue up with steel plates before big
cauldrons of rice and dalma, a local
curry. "The food is simple," says
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigcst.co.in
Jabes Hajoary (far left) is now doing his MA in sociology. Sanjukta Rani (fourth
from left), her MA in economics. Saudagar (in striped purple T-shirt) is studying
law, while Prakash Chandra and Raj Kishore (in T-shirts, right) are star sportsmen.
Mahendra Prasad, "but dalma, made
of yellow lentil and several vegeta-
bles, is nutritious. On Wednesdays
they are served eggs and on Sundays,
they get chicken curry."
With dorms and classrooms for
thousands of students (whose num-
bers have grown every year), the
campus is a large township in north-
ern Bhubaneswar. Spread across 25
square kilometres, it comprises KISS
and an even larger mother institu-
tion, KIIT — pronounced kit — also
Samanta's creation, as are these
rhyming acronyms. Samanta first set
up KIIT, short for Kalinga Institute of
Industrial Technology, in 1992 as an
industrial training institute (ITI)
with just two rooms, 12 students and
^5000 saved from his job as a chemis-
try lecturer. With Samanta's 18-hour
workdays and inborn management
skills, KIIT just grew and grew.
"Growing it wasn't easy," he says.
"I had to promise jobs to the children
of those who sold me land. I once had
?14 lakh in overdue loans. Money-
lenders hounded me and I thought of
suicide. But a nationalized bank came
to my rescue and lent me even more
money." Samanta also had to tackle
petty bureaucrats and please them.
To get one clerk to push a file for
him, Samanta used to take the man's
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r C a d C r s d i gc St . C O . i n
Til* ■ ^ *•"
relative on his scooter for weeks to
In 1995, a team of education inspec-
tors asked him for a treat — dinner at
a Bhubaneswar five-star hotel. "I had
to agree, but they wined and dined
so much, when I went over to pay the
bill I didn't have enough money," says
Samanta, like he's telling an old
joke. "I then frantically rode around
town to borrow cash." But as his work
became known, all that changed.
"Nobody makes such demands any
more." Even so, Samanta's fast-paced,
get-it-done style has got him into the
news — and it hasn't always been
good, as with a recent charge made
by the CBI against some staff mem-
bers of one of his colleges. "Some are
jealous of what I do, others may take
Republic Day parade at one of several
KISS boarding houses. KISS staff
regularly scout the poorest tribal areas
for new children to join the school.
advantage of us," claims Samanta,
countering such negative reports, "I
like to trust people."
Indeed, Odisha is rife with such
reports. "You can't be a saint here
and get things done," one noted so-
cial worker from the state told me.
"As for Samanta, he's doing a good
job for tribals. I too have sent to him
many tribal children, who are all
getting an education at KISS."
Education, including boarding,
clothing, tuition and other needs are
free for all KISS students because
there's the fee-charging KIIT, one of
READER'S digest February 2013 readersdigest.co.in
India's largest private universities.
Some 18,000 students attend KIIT's
ultra-modern faculties: from art and
media studies, law and fashion de-
sign to management, engineering
and medicine. Besides the tribal
school, KISS has colleges offering
arts, science and commerce degrees.
Tribal kids are admitted free to KIIT
if they take up courses there. "It's
quite simple," explains Samanta.
"KIIT funds KISS."
How someone like Samanta could
realize all this is often the stuff of
dreams. In 1970, after his father, a
Tata Steel employee, suddenly died
in Jamshedpur, his mother was left
saved me was that I liked to study,"
says Samanta. "I read at my teacher's
house when Mother ran out of kero-
sene for the lamps." Sure enough, he
worked his way up to his MSc in
chemistry and then the lecturer's job
he held for 10 years.
The hardships he endured were
"actually a gift from God," Samanta
now believes, because it taught him
firsthand the one thing the very poor
really needed. "Why am I able to sit
across and talk to you on equal
terms?" he asks me. "Only because I
got an education. That's all I'm giving
Samanta also took some hard deci-
'My poverty was a gift from God. It
taught me to understand what
THE POOR REALLY NEEDED.'
with her seven children to fend for.
She moved back to their village of
Kalarabank, Odisha, with Achyuta
and his two youngest siblings. "Ach-
yuta worked in the fields from age
six and sold paddy husk, coconuts
and bananas to help support the fam-
ily," recalls Manoranjan Pradhan, a
Cuttack-based lawyer and childhood
"Often we didn't get one square
meal for two days," says Samanta.
"Mother too did menial jobs and
gathered edible weeds by the river
to feed us." Things improved only
after one of his brothers was given a
job in Tata Steel. "But what really
sions. He became a confirmed bach-
elor and shunned personal wealth.
"If I had a wife and children," he says,
"it would have been hard not to care
for them or have self-interests." And,
despite creating his massive educa-
tional empire from scratch, he will
tell you that his monthly salary is
modest, far less than he pays his sen-
ior employees. From this, he says, he
keeps just enough for expenses, in-
cluding rent for the simple house he
lives in, away from campus, and do-
nates the rest to the poor. Others who
run private universities would treat
it as a family business and keep much
of the profits. "But reinvesting the
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r C a d C r sd i gc St . C O . i n
Tribal art, created by
the children, adorn
KISS school buildings.
income," Samanta explains, "is how
we're able to keep on buying land and
expand the two institutions."
Samanta takes childlike pleasure
in talking about his achievements —
which aren't small by any standards.
He's also media savvy, enjoys the
limelight and likes being "Dr Sa-
manta," which is how everybody ad-
dresses him (he has several honorary
doctorates). He also talks with pride
about the many great personalities —
ranging from ambassadors and Nobel
laureates to statesmen like former
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam — who
have come visiting. Yet Samanta's
frugality, too, shows. In his simple
white shirts worn casually over
jeans even at solemn university func-
tions, he looks more like one of his
students than an entrepreneur. He
has no office on campus, but pores
through official papers, or meets
most visitors, under the shade of a
kadamba tree. His car is a second-
hand 1998 Maruti Zen hatchback
while some of his employees, who
include expat academics from several
countries, zip about in swanky new
sedans and SUVs. "They need to be
well off to be happy," he explains.
"They have families. I have to pay
well to attract and retain the best
Achyuta Samanta looks on proudly
as I talk to another of his tribal stu-
dents. Raj Kishore, 17, has been at
KISS since class one. In 2007 the dark,
stocky boy led the KISS India rugby
team at an international junior
tournament in England. His team
returned as unbeaten champions.
He's also played in Australia. "When
our team played in Sydney," says
Samanta, "I went over to cheer them
on personally at a key match."
KISS students are also encouraged
to continue with their tribal tradi-
reader's digest FEBRUARY 2013 reade rsd igest. co. in
tions. The school buildings are
adorned with their tribal mural crea-
tions. The children's paintings and
embroidery, often using tribal motifs,
are sold at exhibitions and any money
earned sent to their parents.
One student, Jabes Hajoary, 21,
with his oriental features and light
complexion, looks different from the
others. Jabes learnt about KISS on the
internet in his school's lab, back in
his native Assam a few years ago and
decided to apply for his BA. Being a
tribal, he was admitted. "I wanted to
experience a different world. I'm glad
I came here and adjusted with others
from different cultures," says Jabes,
sounding like the sociology major he
is. To experience yet another culture,
he recently moved to Pondicherry,
where he is an MA student.
Meanwhile, other KISS alumni, too,
are spreading out and merging into
mainstream India, just the way
Samanta wants it. Ramesh Nayak, 21,
had just earned his BTech from KIIT
after moving there from KISS. He was
back home in Beharamal village in
Odisha's tribal-dominated Sundar-
garh district, after being placed in
TCS as a software systems engineer,
when I spoke to him, and doing TCS's
online training on his laptop. He's
since moved to Chennai and started
work. What does Ramesh have to say
about Samanta? "My living God,"
Ramesh replies over his cellphone.
"Without Samanta Sir, I'd be no-
Like Ramesh and Jabes, their men-
tor too is now looking beyond Bhu-
baneswar. Samanta is busy setting up
20 KISS branches in Odisha's tribal
areas. That is not all. "I also want a
KISS branch in every state," he says,
"only then will my dream for tribals
be fulfilled." Work has started in
Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.
And Samanta is in talks with the
governments of Kerala, Karnataka,
Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
"This is going to be contagious,"
Dr Samanta laughs. "When you're
doing something for others and not
for yourself, everybody listens."
For more information, visit:
"A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the
value of life." Charles Darwin
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't
be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's
thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own
inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart
and intuition." steve Jobs
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e s t . c o . i n
Falling in love,
a sweetheart or
a newborn, turns
our brains into
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re a d e rs d i ge s t . c o . / n
READER'S DIGES^ ^3 readersdigest.co.in
Sharon Roesch is madly in love—
with more than one man. Giggling and
gushing with emotion, her recollection
of falling, at just 17, for Love No. 1, hus-
band Scott, is vivid. "I was totally in-
fatuated," she confesses. "My heart
would be pounding when I knew I'd
be seeing him." Fast-forward a dozen
years to the birth of Love No. 2, son
Liam. Spellbound a second time,
Roesch confides, "I began falling in
love with Liam when I was pregnant."
And, she sighs, the first touch landed
the knockout punch:
"I was head over
ways are typical of
the human experi-
ence. While poets have
long been penning their
paeans to passion, brain
scientists have lately taken
up their quills to tell us that love
is, in fact, very much in the head.
THE DRIVE TO LOVE
Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher
is studying our romantic ardour. With
fellow researchers, Fisher, author of
Why We Love and Anatomy of Love,
has used functional magnetic reso-
nance imaging (fMRI) to peer into
the brains of new lovers. They found
that when people look at pictures
of their beloved, they register an
increase in activity deep in the brain's
primordial centre — the region that
helps power our survival instincts
and floods our brain's dopamine-
who may pass
X eternity 7
driven reward circuitry.
Dopamine, observes Fisher, is the
brain's motivational chemical, the
same one that's stimulated by pleasure-
inducing (and addictive) drugs and,
appropriately, chocolate. It also
suppresses production of serotonin,
a neurotransmitter that helps stabilize
our moods. The dopamine rush is all
about craving, elation, energy and
intensely focused attention; the se-
rotonin shortage is about incessant
thinking and what one researcher
characterizes as "invol-
stuff of new love.
At the same time,
the brain's emotional
and motivational zones
become saturated with
a natural amphetamine
that fires up feelings of in-
tense romantic love. So, Fisher
concludes, our instinct to love is a
drive similar to hunger and thirst, has
characteristics in common with mental
disorders, and creates highs akin to
those produced by cocaine and speed.
So much for romance.
And there's more. Andreas Bartels,
former research fellow in the
Laboratory of Neurobiology at
University College London, in
England, and Semir Zeki, head of that
laboratory, published fMRI research
in 2000 suggesting that romantic love
disables primal parts of the brain that
help us with critical social judgement.
Thus possessed, we are fools for love,
FROM TODAY'S PA REN T (F E B R U A R Y '07) © 2007 BY KATHARINE PARTRIDGE.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e ad e r s d i ge s t . c o . i n
blind to our lover's faults. In Fisher's
mind, the passions of lovers like
Roesch are primarily biological, in
pursuit of "life's grandest prize — a
mate who may pass their DNA towards
THE INSTINCT TO CUDDLE
While that first blush of love is fine
for securing a good mate, says Fisher,
it's less effective for the day-to-day
survival of the individual. So, the brain
adapts with a new set of chemicals and
circuits to focus us on raising our own
little Liams. The two main instigators
associated with love's attachment im-
perative are the "cuddle" hormones
vasopressin and oxytocin. In their
study, Bartels and Zeki discovered that
romantic love activates regions of the
brain rich in receptors for the cuddle
chemicals. These are concentrated in
the reward structures of the brain.
Not coincidentally, in another study,
Bartels and Zeki found similar activity
in some of the same brain networks of
mothers with children. Using fMRI
technology, they scanned the brains of
mothers as they looked at images of
They discovered that primal parts
of mums' brains, associated with criti-
cal social judgement, switched off
while the attachment networks were
primed with oxytocin receptors.
Moreover, oxytocin is released every
time a mother nurses her infant, so
she's constantly charging up the cud-
dle effect. So, a mother's love triangle
is hard-wired, propelling her to fall
in love, have babies and form a deep
attachment with her mate and her
offspring that ensures their care.
Dads may be hard-wired, too. In
animal studies, when bachelor males
were given a hit of vasopressin — the
male equivalent to oxytocin when it
comes to making a commitment — they
abandoned their wanton ways and
became protective lovers.
LONG LIVE LOVE
Life's great passion, says Fisher, is time-
less and ageless. In studies, people in
love express the same heart-pounding,
ardour whether they're 16 or 60. But
if falling in love is a no-brainer, the
trick for lovebirds is keeping the
Fisher says it's a matter of prompt-
ing the brain to recall the high of those
early days. The best way to do that is
to plan new experiences with your
mate — since novelty and excitement
rev up dopamine production, they also
prime the pathways for passion.
Roesch says her early infatuation
with Scott has matured into the satisfy-
ing, steadying attachment that comes
with being "an old, married couple."
And the birth of their son has added
to that. "When I see Scott parenting
Liam, it changes the love I have for
him," she says. "It makes it stronger
in another way." For them, she says,
"we do things we both really enjoy,
like boating together or setting up a
date night." Then, she sparkles, "we
don't have eight-year-married sex. We
have great, wild sex."
Ah, sweet love.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
HOW TO WRITE
One man's advice for composing the
perfect mash note
BY TOM CHIARELLA
A long time ago, when I was living in
my favourite apartment behind a quiet
bamboo patch, I wrote my first love
letter. It was a liquid hot afternoon,
and I was sitting on my screened
porch, enjoying my boredom, think-
ing that I was full up with the very
thought of her.
I drew a pretty cool heart on a piece
of newsprint, rolled that into a manual
typewriter, and then pecked out about
15 sentences. I took more than an hour.
I had to. I couldn't edit, and I couldn't
use a correction fluid. It worked too.
That woman was happy.
So happy that she stuck it on the
door of her refrigerator, where it clung
to a magnet-laden collage of birthday
cards, Easter cards, thinking-of-you
cards. This irked me. "It's a love let-
ter," I told her. "It's only for you. You're
supposed to save it. It's supposed to
be folded up in a book somewhere."
She didn't understand. She treated it
like a card.
When it comes to writing a love let-
ter, remember: It's not a card.
It's a letter.
First, sit. Letters take time.
Letters have a rhythm. Letters must
be written, and writing takes a while.
Three lines can't do the work of three
paragraphs. This is not to say your let-
ter must be long. Three paragraphs
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge sr . c o . i n
IN YOUR WORDS
Heart to Heart
We asked readers to share the
first line of the best love letter you've
ever received. Here's a sampling.
Seeingyou takes my breath away.
know I love you. Don't tell
Giovanna Hinojosa Lopez
There's something new and
different in the way I feel with you.
• A cup of tea with you is worth a
thousand dinners! Abida Jabeen
• I love you without knowing how
or when, or from where. I love you
because I know no other way.
Tins Matienzo Antonio
^What were the lines that touched you
"the most in a love letter you received?
Write to editor. india a rd.com or post
your comments to the Editorial address.
can do the work of three pages. Just
give them some time.
Be loyal to the past you share. If
your love emerged on a boating trip,
then you don't just mention that ex-
perience — you make it. Let the river
become your palette. Tell a story that
only the two of you know. Or narrate
a moment in which she was unaware
that you were watching her. Use detail
to show what you remember and that
Let the example precede sentiment.
A good love letter declares itself
plainly, then illustrates particularly. "I
saw you watching the men play chess
in the park. So quiet. I love the way
you look at things." Show her what
you love in her before you tell her
what you love in her. Show, then tell.
Don't repeat yourself. Emotional
declarations matter more if you space
them a little. Even in a short letter, you
must create room. With love, there's
value in scarcity. That's why it feels
like such a jackpot.
Most of all, remember that it's pri-
vate. Say something that surprises
you about yourself. Let her know that
she is redefining your terms. In this
way most, a love letter is like love
itself. There must be risk. ■
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e i s d i g e s t . c o . i n
W THE BEST^MEDICINE
the dad. "They all smell
A man storms into his manager's
office and demands a raise.
"And just so you know," he blusters,
"three other companies are after me!"
"Is that so?" the manager asks,
"Which companies in particular?"
"The electricity company, the
telephone company and the gas
Company." Zelda Boshoff
The young father took a seat on the
bus next to an elderly man
and plopped his one-year-
old on his lap, just as to
the little boy began
to cry and fidget.
"That child is
spoiled, isn't he?"
the old man
I don't un-
derstand this new
wave of incredibly good-look-
ing vampires. How can they do
their hair and make-up so well
when they can't even see them-
selves in the mirror?
Comedian Mark Trenwith
Have you heard the ex-
pression "If these walls
could talk?" It means "If
people only knew the
interesting things that
happen in this room." But
whenever I hear that
expression, I always think,
What could be happening
in that room that is more
interesting than the fact
that the walls can talk?
Comedian Lawson Leong
A wife texts her husband on a frosty
winter's morning. "Windows frozen!'
Her husband texts back, "Pour
lukewarm water over it."
Five minutes later comes her
reply: "Computer completely
messed up now." Catherin Hiscox
A pig walks into a bar, orders 15
beers, and knocks them back.
"You've had a lot to drink.
Would you like to know
Lg where the bathroom
is?" asks the bar-
fc;.- "No," says the
hog. "I'm the lit-
tle pig that goes
the way home."
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge s t . c o . / n
GRIN AND BEAR IT
No, this bear isn't dancing to "Gangnam Style." But it is doing its best to keep its
balance while standing upright. Either way, it's the coolest bear in the Arctic.
For 30 years, Kabir Mistry had
arrived for work precisely at 9am
and never missed a day. Then one
morning, 9am passed without Kabir.
All work at the office ceased. Even
the boss was looking at his watch
Finally, Kabir limped in at 10am,
shirt crumpled and torn, face
bruised, arm bandaged and his
glasses bent. "I tripped and rolled
down two flights of stairs at the
railway station," he moaned. "Nearly
"And for just that," said his boss,
"you took a whole hour!"
Karctn Singh Aulakh, from the internet
Wanda and Sylvia are talking in
heaven. "Hi, Sylvia, how did you
die?" asks Wanda. "I froze to death,"
'How horrible!" says Wanda.
Oh, it wasn't so bad. After I quit
shaking from the cold I began to get
warm and sleepy, and finally died a
peaceful death. What about you?"
"I died of a massive heart attack,"
says Wanda. "I suspected my
husband was cheating, so I came
home early to catch him in the
act. But he was all by himself
watching TV in the hall."
"So what happened?"
"Well, I was so sure there was an-
other woman that I started running
all over the house looking. I ran up
into the attic, down into the base-
ment, went through every closet and
checked under all the beds. I kept
this up until I'd looked everywhere,
and finally I got so exhausted that I
just keeled over with a heart attack
"Wow," says Sylvia. "Too bad you
didn't look in the deep-freezer, we'd
both still be alive." Miguel Campiglia
k We will pay for your Laughter anecdote.
W Post it to the Editorial address or e-mail:
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r C a d C r S d i gc St . C O . i n
reader's digest February 2013 rea dersdigest. co. in
BY TIM CROTHERS
from ESPN The Magazine
She lives in one of the worst slums
on earth — but she has genius
and grit. Here's how a 14-year-old
Ugandan girl named Phiona Mutesi
took the chess world by surprise
She flies to Siberia with nine teammates, most
in their 20s, much older than she is. When she won
the match that put her on this plane, she had no idea
that her win would send her to Khanty-Mansiysk, in
remote Russia; no idea where Russia was. But here she
is, journeying with her countrymen 27 hours across
the globe. And though she has known many of them
for a few years, they have no idea where she is from or
where she aspires to go, because Phiona Mutesi is from
a place where girls like her don't talk about that. »
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d ig e s t . c o . i n
Agape church, in Katwe, Uganda,
could collapse at any moment. It is a
ramshackle structure held together by
scrap wood, rope, a few nails, and faith.
At the church one Saturday morning
are 37 children whose lives are equally
fragile. They wander in to play a game
none had heard of before they met
Coach Robert, a game so foreign that
there's no word for it in Luganda, their
When they walk through the door,
grins crease their faces. This is their
home as much as any place, a refuge.
Inside Agape church it is almost pos-
sible to forget the chaos outside, in a
slum that is one of the worst places
A child sits on each end of a wob-
bly pew, both straddling the board
between their knobby knees. When
more than a few seconds elapse with-
out a move, there is a palpable rest-
lessness. Surrender is signalled by a
clattering of pieces on the board.
Coach Robert Katende is here. So
are Benjamin and Ivan and Brian.
And up near the pulpit sits Phiona.
One of two girls in the room, Phiona
is juggling three matches at once,
checkmating opponents while draw-
ing a flower in the mud on the floor
with her toe. Phiona is 14, and her
stone face gives no sign that the
next day she will travel to Siberia to
compete against the best players in
If you make
smart moves, you
can stay away
but any bad
be your last.
Tim Crothers is a former senior writer for Sports
Illustrated. His book about Phiona Mutesi,
The Queen of Katwe, was published last year.
The opening ceremonies at the
2010 Chess Olympiad take place in
an ice arena. Phiona has never seen
ice. There are also lasers and dancers
inside bubbles and people costumed
as chess pieces. Phiona asks if this
happens every night in this place,
and she is told no, the arena normally
serves as a home for hockey, concerts,
and the circus. She has never heard of
She returns to the hotel, which at
13 floors is the tallest building Phiona
has ever entered. She stares out the
window, amazed by how people on
the ground look so tiny. She takes a
Phiona Mutesi is the ultimate un-
derdog. To be African can make one an
underdog in the world. To be Ugandan
is to be an underdog in Africa. To be
from Katwe is to be an underdog in
Uganda. And finally, to be female is to
be an underdog in Katwe.
She wakes at 5:00 each morning to
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge sr . c o . i n
begin a three-hour trek
to fill a jug with drink-
able water, walking
through lowland that is
often so severely flooded
that many residents
sleep in hammocks near
their ceilings to avoid
drowning. There are no
sewers. Flies are every-
where. The stench is ap-
Phiona walks past
dogs, rats, and long-horned cattle.
Women here are valued for little
more than sex and child care, and an
estimated 50 percent of teen girls are
mothers. It is said that if you are born
in Katwe, you die in Katwe — from dis-
ease or violence or neglect. "Chess is
a lot like my life," Phiona says through
an interpreter. "If you make smart
moves, you can stay away from dan-
ger, but you know any bad decision
could be your last."
She and her family live in a ten-
by-ten-foot room, its only window
covered by plywood. A curtain is
drawn across the doorway when the
door is open, as it always is during
the sweltering daytime in this country
bisected by the equator. The walls are
bare, except for etched phone num-
bers. There is no phone.
The contents of Phiona's home are:
two water jugs, wash bin, small char-
coal stove, teapot, plates and cups,
toothbrush, Bible, and two musty mat-
tresses. The latter suffice for five peo-
ple: Phiona, mother Harriet, teenage
brothers Brian and Richard, and her
Playing Canada's Dina Kagramanov, who
is almost a decade older.
six-year-old niece, Winnie. Pouches
of curry powder, salt, and tea leaves
are the only hints of food.
At the Olympiad, Phiona is among
the youngest of more than 1000 play-
ers from some 150 countries. She is
the second-seeded player for the
Ugandan team, but now she isn't play-
ing against kids anymore. She keeps
thinking, Do I really belong here?
Her first opponent, Dina Kagramanov,
the Canadian national champion, is
competing in her third Olympiad and,
at almost 24, has probably been play-
ing elite chess longer than Phiona has
been alive. Kagramanov wins but is
shocked to learn this is Phiona's first
international match against an adult.
"To reason like she does at her age is
a gift that gives her the potential for
greatness," the Canadian says.
When asked about early memo-
ries, Phiona can recall only loss. "I
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e s t . c o . i n
Phiona with her mother at home in
Katwe after a long day of chess.
went to my dad's village when I was
about three to see him, and a week
later he died of AIDS," she says. "After
the funeral, my family stayed in the
village for a few weeks, and one morn-
ing, my older sister, Juliet, told me she
had a headache. We gave her some
herbs, and she went to sleep. The fol-
lowing morning we found her dead."
Harriet, who is often sick, is some-
times gone for days trying to make
money for her family's daily meal of
rice and tea. She wakes up at 2am to
walk five kilometres to buy
the avocados and brinjals
that she resells at a street
market. Phiona is left to
care for her siblings.
One afternoon when
she was just nine but had
already dropped out of
school because her family
couldn't afford it, she se-
cretly followed Brian out
of their shack in hopes he
might lead to the first meal
of the day. She watched
him enter a corridor, sit on
a bench, and begin playing
with some black and white
objects. Phiona had never
seen anything like these
pieces, and she thought they
were beautiful. She peeked
around a corner again and
again, fascinated by the
game and also wondering if
there might be some food. Suddenly,
she was spotted. "Young girl," said
Coach Robert Katende. "Come in.
Don't be afraid."
In Siberia, Phiona is engulfed by
chess, pausing only to visit the hotel
restaurant's all-you-can-eat buffet.
At the first few meals, Phiona makes
herself sick by overeating. On the
second day of games, she arrives at
the venue early to explore. She sees
women dressed in burkhas, Indian
women in saris, and Bolivian women
in ponchos and black bowler hats. She
sees an Iraqi kneel and begin to pray
COPYRIGHT © 2012 BY TIM CROTHERS. ESPN THE MAGAZINE (JANUARY 2011), ESPN PLAZA, BRISTOL, CONNECTICUT 06010.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s dige s t . c o . i n
I thought that
girls are always
weak, but when
I met Phiona,
I saw she could
play as well as
towards Mecca. Midway through her
match against Elaine Lin Yu-Tong of
Taiwan, Phiona makes a tactical error,
costing her two pawns. Her opponent
makes a similar blunder, but Phiona
doesn't realize it until it's too late.
From then on, she stares crestfallen as
the rest of the moves play out, and she
loses a match she thinks she should
have won. Phiona bolts to the parking
lot, boards a shuttle bus alone, returns
to her hotel room, and bawls into her
pillow. Later that evening, Katende
tries his best to comfort her. It is the
only time chess has ever brought her
to tears. In fact, she cannot remember
the last time she cried.
Robert Katende was orphaned
young. He eventually scraped out a
living playing football, despite hav-
ing suffered a serious head injury. In
2003, his coach told him about a job
at Sports Outreach Institute, a Chris-
tian mission, and Robert, a born-again
Christian, found his calling. He was
assigned to Katwe, where he began
drawing kids for football and post-
game porridge. He searched for a way
to engage the ones who watched from
the sidelines. He found a solution in
an old chess set. "I had my doubts,"
Katende admits. "I wondered, Can
these kids really play this game?"
Katende began offering chess les-
sons after games, starting with six
boys who came to be known as The
Pioneers. After two years, he had 25
kids. That's when a barefoot nine-year-
old girl peeked into the corridor.
"When I first saw chess, I thought,
What could make all these kids so si-
lent?" Phiona recalls. "Then I watched
them play and get happy and excited,
and I wanted a chance to be that
Phiona started walking six kilome-
ters every day to play chess. The first
game she won, after losing about 50
times, was against Joseph Asaba, a boy
who had beaten her before with a tac-
tic called the Fool's Mate, a humiliat-
ing scheme that can produce victory in
as few as four moves. One day Joseph
wasn't aware that Katende had pre-
pared Phiona with a defence that would
capture Joseph's queen. When Phiona
checkmated Joseph, he began sobbing
because he had lost to a girl. Katende
eventually introduced Phiona to Ivan
Mutesasira and Benjamin Mukumbya,
two of the project's strongest players,
who agreed to tutor her. "When I first
met Phiona, I took it for granted that
girls are always weak, but I came to
realize that she could play as well as
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e 5 1 . c o . i n
The champ at Agape church in Katwe,
where she learnt to play.
a boy," Ivan says. "She likes to attack,
and when you play against her, it feels
like she's pushing you backwards until
you have nowhere to move."
News eventually spread around
Katwe that Katende, though black, was
part of an organization run by white
people, known in Uganda as mzungu,
and Harriet began hearing disturbing
rumours. "My neighbours told me that
if I let Phiona keep playing, mzungu
would take her away," she says. "But
I could not afford to feed her. What
choice did I have?"
Within a year, Phiona could beat her
coach, and Katende knew it was time
for her and the others to face better
competition. He visited local board-
ing schools, where children from more
privileged backgrounds refused to play
the slum kids. But Katende kept asking
until ten-year-old Phiona was playing
against teens in fancy blaz-
ers, beating them soundly.
Then she played university
players, defeating them as
She learnt through trial
and error, trained by a
coach who admitted he
didn't even know all the
rules until after starting
the project. She succeeds
because she possesses that
precious chess gene al-
lowing her to envision the
board many moves ahead,
and because she focuses on
the game as if her life depends on it,
which in her case might be true.
During matches at the Olympiad, it
is not uncommon for 20 minutes to
elapse without a single move. Phiona
has spent two matches fidgeting, des-
perate for her opponents to get on
with it. Wary after Phiona's break-
down, Katende is ruing the Uganda
Chess Federation's decision to place
Phiona as her team's No. 2 seed, where
she must face top players.
Her third match is against a grand-
master from Egypt, Mona Khaled.
Pleased by Mona's quick pace, Phiona
gets lured into her opponent's rhythm
and plays too fast, leading to fatal er-
rors. Katende looks worried when
Phiona concedes, but she recognizes
that she's been beaten by a better
player. She walks straight over to
Katende and says, "Coach, I will be a
Phiona's opponent in her fourth
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 rea d e r s d i ge st . co. i n
match, an Angolan, Sonia Rosa-
lina, keeps staring at Phiona's eyes,
which Rosalina will later say are the
most competitive she has faced. At a
critical moment, Phiona plays too
passively, not like herself. After more
than three hours, she grudgingly sub-
mits, admitting that she didn't have
her courage when she needed it most.
She promises herself that she will
never let that happen again.
Although Phiona is back in school
through a grant from Sports Outreach,
she is just learning to read and write.
Also, she faces a potential hazard that
could make her life even more chal-
lenging: Her mother is constantly ill
and worries that she is HIV-positive,
but she is afraid to be tested. Phiona
has never been tested either.
Phiona says her dream is to build a
house outside Katwe for her mother.
When Harriet is asked if her daughter
can escape the slum, she says, "I have
never thought about that."
Katende, when pressed to describe
Phiona's realistic blueprint out of
Katwe, can come up only with a vi-
sion of starting an academy where
the chess kids earn money teaching
children of wealthy families. He says
he hopes Phiona can blaze a trail out
of the slum for all the kids to follow.
To do that, Phiona must produce on
a world stage like no other Ugandan,
man or woman, has ever achieved.
Khanty-Mansiysk is cold and
dreary. Phiona hates Russian weather
but loves the hotel room, the clean
water, the three meals a day. She is
dreading her return, when she must
begin scrapping for food again.
Her opponent for one of her final
matches is an Ethiopian, Haregeweyn
Abera, who, like Phiona, is an African
teenager. Suddenly Phiona feels like
she is back at Agape church, pushing
Abera's pieces into retreat until the
other girl extends her hand in defeat.
Phiona tries and fails to suppress her
gap-toothed grin, then rises and skips
out into the frigid Siberian air. This
dismissed girl from a dismissed world
unleashes a blissful shriek into the
slate grey sky, loud enough to startle
players still inside the arena.
Since the original publication of this
story in Sports Illustrated, Phiona
Mutesi became the Ugandan
women's national champion and
earned a Woman Candidate Master
title in the 2012 World Chess
Olympiad in Istanbul.
I'm single. I often think about my future wife and how lax she's been
about getting in tOUCh With me. Ted Alexandro, comedian
I've been married four years now, and it's getting pretty serious.
Nate Bargatze, comedian
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a de i s d ig e s t . c o . in
Osama bin Our Films Achyuta
Laden'* Promote Samanta's
Last Day Rape KISS of Life
You can stop this
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ail delivery at our base
in Japan was irregular at
best, so everyone would call
the post office to see if the
mail had arrived. Tired of the
constant calls, the postmaster
announced that he would
raise a white flag to signal that
mail had arrived. That idea
was scrapped after soldiers
kept calling to ask if the white
flag was up. Donald Dereadt
The five-year-old boy at our
school was from a military
family: His mother was a
fighter pilot, and his father
served in Afghanistan.
"Do you know my full name?
he asked me.
No, I don't," I said.
It's James Phillip Thomas Steven
Harold Jackson the Third. But my
mother calls me Steven. My father's
full name is James Phillip Thomas
Steven Harold Jackson the Second."
"And what does your mother
getting overtones of potassium nitrate,
with just a hint of sulphur."
As we set out on patrol in Afghani-
stan, my platoon leader was torn
between which route to take.
"One road will probably get us
ambushed," he said. "But if we take
the second, we'll likely run into an ex-
plosive device. What do you think?"
I considered our options, then
gave him my suggestion: "I say we
take a couple of days off."
Aboard our aircraft carrier, my
buddy and I were loading equip-
ment in preparation for setting out
to sea. One of the items was an
incredibly heavy air compressor.
Sweating, we put the compressor
down to rest. Then my friend had a
"No wonder it's so heavy," he said,
pointing to the gauge. "It's full of air."
^We will pay ?iooo for your anecdote.
™Post it to the Editorial address or
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigcst.co.in
NEUROSCIENCE IS REDRAWING
THE BOUNDARIES OF LIFE
BY LIA GRAINGER
Hassan Rasouli checked into Sunnybrook
Hospital in Toronto, Canada, to have a brain tumour
removed on 16 October 2010. The surgery was suc-
cessful, but the then-59-year-old engineer contracted
bacterial meningitis and fell into a coma. In January
2011, Hassan's doctors determined that he was in a
persistent vegetative state, with virtually no chance
of regaining consciousness. They recommended his
feeding tube and ventilator be taken away.
The Rasouli family, who had emigrated from Iran
six months earlier, were thrown into turmoil. Daugh-
ter Mojgan, 29, and her 23-year-old brother, Mehran,
agonized over letting their father go. Was there really
no hope? The doctors put great pressure on their
mother, Parichehr Salasel, to make a decision. A
doctor in her native country, Salasel refused to give
up. "We all still felt his presence," says Mojgan.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 reade rsd igest.CO.i n
End-of-life protocols in Canada,
however, are murky. Consent from a
substitute decision maker — in this
case, Hassan's wife — is required to
pull the plug; but if doctors believe
there is an ethical justification for al-
lowing a patient to die, they can turn
to a specialized tribunal to get permis-
sion to discontinue life-extending
treatment. Hassan's doctors insisted
he was suffering needlessly and that
they were prepared to act in his best
interests. The Rasoulis won a court
order confirming their right to decide
Hassan's fate, but the doctors ap-
pealed. They lost that appeal and took
their case to the Canadian Supreme
Then something unexpected hap-
pened: Hassan started to show
improvement. Last summer, he was
blinking to words spoken in Farsi and,
according to Mojgan, could give a
weak thumbs-up. Sunnybrook's neur-
ology department reassessed him, up-
grading his condition to minimally
conscious, but his doctors pressed
ahead with their case anyway, hoping
a victory would force changes in
existing life-support protocols. With
court arguments looming, Mojgan, a
master's student in urban planning,
wondered if more concrete proof
existed of her father's consciousness.
In January 2011, Mojgan came across
a paper by 46-year-old Cambridge
University neuroscientist Adrian
Owen. For 15 years, Owen had
been using functional magnetic
resonance imaging (fMRI) ma-
chines — which record blood
flow to measure brain activ-
ity — in an attempt to confirm
consciousness in coma patients.
During a 2010 study, he placed
54 patients in his scanner and
asked each of them to imagine
playing tennis, and to then im-
agine navigating through their
homes — tasks that create dra-
matically different patterns on
fMRI scans. Of the 54 patients,
five were able to respond to
Owen's commands. One of his
most successful cases — a 22-
year-old dubbed "Patient 23"
who had been in a vegetative
state for five years following a
car accident — performed the
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.iii
task so well, he was able to answer
simple questions by thinking of tennis
for "yes" and his house for "no." It was
a stunning breakthrough: Owen was
communicating with a man whom
many would have deemed as good
Mojgan's mind raced as she typed
Owen's name into Google. Among the
search results she found an announce-
ment: Owen had relocated to the Uni-
versity of Western Ontario in London,
Canada, a mere two-hour drive from
at the university. He decided to move
most of his team to Ontario after the
university offered him the post of
Canada Excellence Research Chair in
Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging,
a position that comes with $20 million
in funding. "Once we'd established we
could reveal consciousness in patients
that had been lying there for years,"
he adds, "continuing the research was
an easy decision."
Consciousness disorders are as-
sessed using the Coma Recovery
IS IT NOT CONCEIVABLE THAT SOME
patients may possess consciousness but no
ABILITY TO MOVE?
Toronto. Three months later, the neur-
ologist was at Sunny brook, question-
ing the family about Hassan's condition.
After obtaining the hospital's permis-
sion and a referral from Hassan's
doctor, Owen put him in a scanner.
According to Mojgan, Owen called
two weeks later with the news: Her
father showed signs of consciousness.
He explained that, although nothing
had happened when her father was
asked to imagine walking around his
house, he emitted a faint signal when-
ever he was asked to imagine playing
tennis. For Mojgan and her family, it
was a moment of indescribable
"You only need one reportedly vege-
tative patient to show a response like
this to know there are others out
there," says Owen, sitting in his office
Scale-Revised (CRS-R), which estab-
lishes a variety of behavioural mark-
ers to determine severity. It begins
with the "locked-in": those who are
awake and aware, but can only com-
municate using tiny movements — say,
by wiggling a finger. Next is "min-
imally conscious": patients who
occasionally react to auditory, visual
or tactile cues, but are otherwise non-
responsive. Finally, we arrive at "per-
sistent vegetative" patients, who show
no signs of consciousness. These in-
dividuals are typically "warehoused"
in intensive care and are never given
the opportunities to communicate set
aside for those with less severe
impairments, leading family members
to consider end-of-life options. In
other words, diagnosis can mean the
difference between life and death.
Although Owen contends that the
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r sd i g e st . < o . i n
CRS-R is an extremely useful rubric,
he cautions that there are two flaws
in the way we currently evaluate pa-
tients. First, studies have shown that
human observation can be wrong up
to 40 percent of the time. Minimally
conscious patients typically weave in
and out of awareness; they may be
able to blink an eye for an hour on
Tuesday, then lie completely un-
responsive on Friday.
But there's an even more obvious —
and sometimes fatal — flaw: Who's to
tion to the words "tennis" and "house."
In response, his Cambridge colleagues
set out to prove that only a conscious
person could perform the spoken re-
quests. They anesthetized healthy
volunteers, placed them in the scan-
ner and asked them to imagine play-
ing tennis. The volunteers could not.
Judy Hies is a professor of neurology
and the Canada Research Chair in
Neuroethics at the University of Brit-
ish Columbia in Vancouver. She works
MOJGAN RASOULI HOPES THE JUDGES
will uphold the court order that has
ALLOWED HER FATHER TO STAY ALIVE.
say that all locked-in or minimally
conscious patients are able to wiggle
a finger or visually track an object? Is
it not conceivable, says Owen, that
some patients might possess con-
sciousness but no ability to move? "I'd
suggest this to people, and they'd say,
'The patient would convey it in some
way. We would know'." Owen laughs
and shakes his head. "And I'd say, 'Yes,
but how?' "
In 2006, Owen published his suc-
cesses using the tennis/house method
in the journal Science. Some readers
were skeptical. One psychologist, in a
letter to the journal, suggested that
"brain activity was unconsciously
triggered by the last word of the in-
structions, which always referred to
the item to be imagined." In short,
Owen's patients may not have been
conscious, but had an automatic reac-
with Owen, puzzling over what she
calls the "gnarly" questions his stud-
ies provoke, including the possibility
doctors may soon be given more dis-
cretionary authority over whether to
halt treatment for vegetative patients
at the very moment neuroscience
seems poised to significantly alter our
understanding of consciousness.
"Important concerns about the reli-
ability of the science still have to be
answered," Illes says, "before we
begin integrating this technology into
clinical care." She contends that, in
the future, Owen's tool may be used
in court cases concerning end-of-life
decisions by bringing evidence to the
table. Owen's findings won't need to
be used in the Rasouli case because
he has shown responsiveness in more
traditional ways, but "regardless of
which side wins," she explains, "the
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.CO.il)
Rasouli case highlights the need for
Toronto health-care lawyer Mark
Handelman agrees that Owen's
method has the potential to upend
critical-care protocols. "If the technol-
ogy works, then of course it will be
used in this way," he says. "Science
always complicates law, but science
also improves law."
Even so, families who have already
followed through on "do not resusci-
tate" orders for their loved ones could
receive Owen's research like a punch
in the gut. A study in the Canadian
Medical Association Journal examining
720 patients with severe traumatic
brain injury found that 32 percent of
those patients died in hospital, with 70
percent of those deaths due to with-
drawal of life-support. However, the
use of fMRIs may swing the pendulum
towards overcautiousness, encouraging
families and physicians to keep barely-
there loved ones alive.
Handelman points out that this
would come at a cost — a limited num-
ber of intensive-care beds and the
annual price tag per bed for around-
the-clock treatment is almost $1 mil-
lion. It's easy, he says, to imagine the
debate Owen's discovery will provoke:
"If Dad, who will never wake from his
coma, is in intensive care, whose heart
surgery isn't taking place?"
For the Rasouli family, it's enough
just to know that Hassan is aware.
"Even being in a minimally conscious
state, it means improvement," says
Mojgan, who was preparing for the
case, which the Canadian Supreme
Court heard recently. She believes
doctors shouldn't have the right to
overrule a family's wishes, and hopes
the judges will uphold the court order
that has so far allowed her father to
stay alive. "A ruling in our favour would
help people like my father," she adds.
"He always said, 'Don't give up. Where
there's life, there's hope'."
WORD OF MOUTH
At a family gathering, one of my relatives suggested a word contest
and asked everyone to come up with palindromes. "Words that read the
same both ways are known as palindromes," he explained.
"I know one, I know one!" said my eight-year-old daughter Gitanjali,
raising her hand. "Mom! Daddy says she will never change even if you
turn her upside down." Vidya Vasudevan, Chennai
My husband's company got a new country manager from Finland. At a
recent conference, my husband told a customer, "Do you know, we have
a new boss and he's Finnish."
"What!" the customer replied, "He just joined and he is already
finished?" Juhi Sharma, Kota, Rajasthan
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r sd i g e st . c o . i n
READER'S DIGEST FEB
■ ■ it, , . ^ i.
L^;:- 1 -!^-^:^
He believes it's been
Keref or 150 years.
L 5Vr «
TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRENT LEWIN
The Khasi tribespeople of Cherrapunjee are no strangers
I to rain. More than 10,000 of them inhabit the lush green
region, the state of Meghalaya, straddles the Bangladeshi
i border and holds a somewhat dubious claim to fame.
Meghalaya, in Sanskrit, translates to the "abode of
clouds." It is one of the wettest places on earth.
j* Here, hilly terrain funnels both southwest and northeast
monsoon rain clouds over a relatively small area, resulting
in dramatic and seemingly endless showers. Between 1973
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY S013 r e a de rs dige S t
_ b i
and 2010, Cherrapunjee received an
average annual rainfall of nearly 12
metres, edging out Mount Waialeale
in Hawaii as the rainiest place on Earth.
Cherrapunjee also holds the world
record for the most rainfall in a single
year; in 12 months to July 1861, over 26
To live in such conditions requires
tenacity and ingenuity. I travelled
there last May to see one of the most
beguiling solutions for myself.
This place is remote. After an hour-
long flight from Kolkata to Guwahati,
I spend six hours in a cramped taxi
on congested roads before finally
reaching Cherrapunjee. From there I
find a guide to lead me on the 90-
minute trek from the Sohsarat village,
down slippery moss-covered rocks,
to a shady valley where I find 58-year-
old village headman Bakhot Phanrang
busy at work.
"Khubleil" Phanrang says with a
smile, using the common Khasi
greeting meaning "God bless."
"Welcome to Ummunoi, one of the
oldest bridges in Meghalaya. We
would have liked to have built a steel
bridge but we had no money!"
A treacherous combination of dense
forests, steep terrain and a monsoon
season that lasts almost half the year
makes it hard to get around here,
especially for those villagers who
must cross surging rivers to access
their gardens or collect firewood.
Each family in Phanrang's village
has a plot of land where they grow bay
leaves or black pepper and all rely on
this bridge to cross the river to access
their gardens. Six days a week Phan-
rang descends 700 metres into the
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readcrsdigcst.co.in
jungle with family members to gather
betel nuts, pepper, tipui (a local
medicinal plant) and bay leaves, which
they sell at the weekly market.
Faced with these challenges, many
generations ago — in this culture with
no written history, no one knows quite
when — the Khasi forged a canny pact
with nature. Someone conceived the
idea of a resilient and robust alterna-
tive to hand-constructed bamboo and
wood bridges, which were often eroded
or destroyed each rainy season.
I have come here to see firsthand
the jingkieng deingjri, or "bridge of the
rubber tree." There are 11 functioning
living bridges in this district and each
has been fashioned by tying secondary
roots from the Ficus elastica tree to
bamboo trunks laid across the stream.
As the roots grow from rubber trees
planted on each bank, the Khasi use the
From far left: a Khasi woman crosses
Nongriat's "double decker" bridge;
an outside view of Cherrapunjee's
valley; local boys from Nongriat.
bamboo trunks like a scaffold to guide
roots of the living plant across the gap.
Villagers now also use hollowed betel
tree trunks as an alternative to
bamboo, threading the roots inside to
absorb the decaying trees' nutrients,
accelerating their own growth.
As a 'mother' rubber tree on each
bank grows and the roots eventually
need to be interlaced, villagers train
more roots from the same trees to
form handrails that run along the
length of the bridge. They thread roots
on the bridge's floor together to form
a sturdy base, and any gaps are filled
in with stones that eventually become
embedded into the bridge floor.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 rcadersdigest.co.in
The rubber trees, which are well
adapted to heavy rainfall and soil
erosion, continue to grow stronger, and
within 15 to 20 years a new bridge can
support the weight of its minders.
Offering a quick tour of the engineer-
ing that holds up the 17-metre Ummu-
noi root bridge, Phanrang explains
that tending to it requires the villag-
ers' continuous attention. "There are
450 people in our village and at some
point nearly all of them, men, women
and children, have contributed to
repairing or strengthening the bridge.
Whenever somebody crosses the
bridge, they may help by tying or tight-
ening a root that has come free, or
helping to pull new roots across the
bridge." Today Phanrang is repairing
a handrail that has worked loose.
With knowledge passed down to
children and young adults accompany-
ing their parents on outings to the gar-
den, the root bridges not only connect
two pieces of land but also serve as a
cherished cultural heirloom, whose
roots connect the past with the present.
Phanrang and his wife have nine
children of their own, so they are as
invested as any in ensuring the living
bridges are carefully maintained.
"Our bridge is the strongest because
it is one of the oldest," explains Phan-
rang. Without a written history, the
Khasi struggle to pinpoint the bridge's
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r G a d e r s d i ge S t . c O . / n
* ' -• • it -
' *.- s
exact age, but consensus in the village
is that it's some 150 years old. Khasi
legend has it that a man called Sri
Snaton Chyne first conceived of the
idea for a root bridge one afternoon
after finishing his garden work.
"Resting by the river, he had the
idea to plant a rubber tree so that fu-
ture generations would be able to
cross the water more easily," says
Phanrang. "A lot of villagers ques-
tioned whether it could be achieved,
and some thought it was silly because
it would take so long to make. After
planting the tree, many years passed
Clockwise from above: the 20-metre-
long Umshiang bridge — a third tier is
planned; the Wha Simtung wire
suspension bridge; a different kind
of holiday resort; Bakhot Phanrang.
before the roots were long enough to
tie to the bamboo and guide it across
Many years after the first root was
laid, the bridge was finally usable.
Unfortunately, Snaton had passed
away years before, so he never got to
walk across his creation.
While Ummunoi may be one of the
oldest root bridges, the most famous
is the impressive Umshiang "double
decker" suspension bridge found in
the village of Nongriat, which lies at
the bottom of a picturesque valley
that's home to some 150 people.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a de rs dige s t . c o. in
Part of the charm of visiting Non-
griat, I discover, is the seven-hour
return trek down the side of a steep
mountain. We pass through spectacu-
lar scenery, including two smaller
root bridges and an adrenaline-fuelled
walk across the Wha Simtung wire
suspension bridge, which replaced
a root bridge that had decayed
Generations old, the double decker
is one of a kind. It's an impressive 20
metres long and I'm told it can accom-
modate up to 50 people at once. Aside
from villagers crossing the bridge on
the way to their gardens, children come
Left: Phanrang doesn't need the root
bridge to go fruit gathering.
to swim in the fresh water, while adults
do their laundry on the river bank.
Why two levels? Andreas Mawa, a
primary school teacher in the village
explains: "For a long while there was
only one level. But one year we had
an exceptionally wet rainy season,
with water so high that it touched the
bridge. After that it was decided we
had to build another level higher up."
Now that villagers can see the bridge's
tourist potential, plans are afoot to
add a third level.
"If you're born here, you think this
is the world; you take for granted just
how special these bridges really are,"
says Denis P. Rayen, owner and
manager of the Cherrapunjee Holiday
Resort. A retired Tamilian banker,
Rayen now wears many hats: resort
owner, nature lover and tourism pro-
moter. After marrying a Khasi woman,
he relocated to Laitkynsew village,
20km south of Cherrapunjee.
"When I first arrived here in 2000
and began exploring the various
bridges, the locals couldn't believe that
anyone would be interested in seeing
these bridges," explains Rayen.
Although his resort is within walk-
ing distance of the Ummunoi bridge,
it took Rayen six months to convince
a tourist to go on a trek with him to
see it. Today it's the prime reason for
visiting the area — well, that and the
rain. "The rain is the most beautiful
thing about Cherrapunjee," says
Rayen. "You wouldn't think it, but
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re ad e rs d i gest . CO . i n
being in the centre of a monsoon is
Rayen has become a rain aficionado:
he and his wife Carmela have been
tracking and recording Cherrapunjee's
rainfall for the past 12 years.
While local Khasi are unsure of exactly
when and how the tradition of root
bridges started, Rayen believes the
phenomenon could go back 500 years.
"When I arrived, I came across a
root bridge where there were with-
ered remains of a previous bridge that
had all but washed away. It's been
a part of their life for so long they
From top: a local Khasi woman;
detailed look at the natural
structure of the Umshiang bridge.
don't consider it special."
The first recorded mention of Cher-
rapunjee's root bridges is found in the
1844 Journal of the Asiatic Society of
Bengal, where British Lieutenant H.
Yule marvels about them.
Speculation aside, the real draw of
these bridges is something that speaks
to us on a deeper level. As Rayen puts
it, "These bioengineering wonders are
eloquent testimonies to man living
in harmony with nature."
Writer Drew Magary on meeting singer Justin Bieber: "His voice is so
high, it sounds like a ringtone." source: gq
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 rea c/e r s d igc S t . C O. i n
READER'S DIGEST FEBRU
A high-powered working mother writes about
her decision to leave a top government job for
more time at home — and the fireworks start
was one of the biggest cultural blowups of
last year. Princeton University professor and
former top US government official Anne-Marie
Slaughter left no hot button unpushed in her
provocatively titled Atlantic cover story, "Why
Women Still Can't Have It All."* Part confessional, part sociological
analysis, part call to arms, the 12,000-word tour de force gave fiery new
life to an age-old, ongoing debate and thrust its author into the centre
of a media maelstrom. The response to the piece, in which Slaughter
explained how she gave up her job as a policy adviser to Secretary of
* To find the article online, google: "atlantic anne-marie slaughter."
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
The ESSAY THAT ROCKED THE INTERNET
State Hillary Clinton "because
of my desire to be with my
family," was immediate and
enormous. More than one
million people read the es-
say online, according to the
Atlantic. Women of every age
and background (and plenty
of men) let Slaughter know exactly
what they thought of her and her ideas
about women, work, and family. Eight
weeks after publication, the Atlantic
website had logged more than 2400
comments, with new ones
posted every day and no end
in sight. In the same period,
the piece (which Slaughter
will expand into a book) was
recommended on Facebook
over 198,000 times. The only
person who hasn't weighed
in on the essay, it would seem, is the
toddler popping out of the briefcase
on the Atlantic cover. Here are a few
of Slaughter's key points, along with
some reader reactions.
I still strongly believe that women can 'have it all' (and that men
can too). I believe that we can 'have it all at the same time.' But not
today, not with the way [our] economy and society are currently
"What, exactly, is 'having it all,' any-
way? Rising to the top of your pro-
fession and yet still being able to be
home in time for dinner and make it
to all the soccer games? That seems
impossible ... I don't know, exactly,
where my career (or my personal life,
for that matter) is headed. But I do
know that 'having it all' sounds really
exhaUSting."D oree Shcifrir, onbuzzfeed.com Cheryl King, on the Reader's Digest Facebook page
"The real problem is expecting more
than a standard workweek for anyone,
regardless of gender."
Erica Drake, ontheatlantic.com
"I'm not Super Mom; I can't do every-
thing. It took some time to learn to
be OK with that, but I would rather
have quality time with my kids when
I am home."
" 'Having it all' is such a greedy, self-
ish, consumerist term, implying ... that
having more stuff, more experiences,
more money, will make you a happy
person." Richard_Ewelh4, ontheatlantic.com
"We are where we are because the
system is broken, not because women
lack the motivation or ambition to
australianreader, on theatlantic.com
reader's digest February 2013 rea ders digest. co. in
"I am well aware that the majority of ... women face problems far
greater than any discussed in this article ... Many of these women are
worrying not about having it all, but rather about holding on to what
"Most of the women I know person-
ally do not have the high-powered
'glamorous' careers that seem to get
all the media attention. What I'd like
to know is when do we who are pink-
collar workers finally get our issues
addressed? Have it all? Heck, if we
had the kind of jobs the author had,
we could freaking buy it all!"
La Dee D ah, ontheatlantic.com
"I don't see Ms Slaughter as entitled
or spoiled. I see a hardworking woman
who had an inaccurate view of what it
means to be a parent."
Barb Plunkett, ontheatlantic.com
"I am a single mom of two boys with
no support from their father. I do two
jobs, besides being a mom. I wake up
at 3:30am, work online as a tutor from
4 to 6:30am, then get them ready and
send them to school. Then I do the
housework ... I start tutoring again
from 6pm till midnight ... The one
thing that is killing me is not having
enough Sleep." Ketty, onrd.com
"Our luxuries are measured in terms of
man-hours. Dinner out for our family
is four hours at work for me or six for
[my husband]. Disney World is 80/120
hours, respectively ... We don't keep
up with the Smiths, much less the
Joneses, but that lets my husband and
me work hours that still allow us to be
involved with our family."
Stephanie Swalwell, ontheatlantic.com
"WE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY STRIKE
THE PHRASE 'HAVE IT ALL
FROM THE FEMINIST LEXICON AND
NEVER. EVER USE IT AGAIN."
Rebecca Traister, on salon.com
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e st . c o . i n
The ESSAY THAT ROCKED THE INTERNET
"I do not believe fathers love their children any less than mothers do, but
men seem more likely to choose their job at a cost to their family..."
"What I hope for, one day, is that fa-
thers feel the same remorse mothers
do when they have to leave their chil-
dren every morning, that fathers feel as
consumed as mothers do about mak-
ing sure their children eat right, get the
right education, etc." Liz Craft, onrd.com
"Believe it or not, a whole heap of both
women and men think that women
and men should take the roles in the
household that suit them best ... rather
than having their genitalia dictate
what their role is going to be."
Alex Mar thews, ontheatlantic.com
"All of us work too hard. We all short-
change our kids ... We are all pretty
much a mess when it comes to bal-
ance. The difference is women agonize
over the menu, and men just order and
live with it ... Slaughter is right that
for most women, the juggle just feels
Dahlia Lithwick, onslate.com
For two years, I never left the office early enough to go to any stores
other than those open 24 hours ...
"Why do I want government, public
policy, and the businesses that serve
me to be run by stressed-out, miser-
able people who have no connection to
their own families and the communities
around them?" SHarshD, on theatlantic.com
"The problem she identified — the stag-
gering speedup of jobs at the top — is
not a woman's problem. It's the pre-
dictable and unavoidable result of the
increasing inequality of our economy."
Linda Hirshman, on theatlantic.com
"Young women need stories of struggle
and sacrifice like a hole in the head.
Given economic realities, they need to
stick with their jobs, and fanning flames
of angst and guilt does them a great
disservice." Sylvia Ann Hewlett, onhbr.org
"As a child of the 70s and '80s, I re-
member all too well defending my
mother for working at home as a stay-
at-home mom, when she worked just as
hard as my father did at his job!"
Daisy Mabel, onslate.com
reader's digest February 2013 readersdigest.co.in
"DADS, LET THE WIFE CO
MAKE A SIX-FIGURE INCOME.
YOU STA Y HOME AND
TAKE CARE OF THE RUNNY NOSES."
Dctdthebaker, on the New York Times Motherlode blog
"I realized that I didn't just need to go home. Deep down, I wanted to
"I think it's fantastic that the modern
feminist movement is moving away
from the 'me, me, me' and 'self-real-
ization' shtick and instead recogniz-
ing that the traditional 'female' value
of putting family first is invaluable."
Ellie Swctnson, ontheatlantic.com
"Enough op-eds from Marie Antoi-
nette. Let's work on the problem of
redesigning our public institutions
and policies to reflect the change in
our culture. Women work. Men work.
Children need care."
Lisa Duggan, ontheparentdujour.com
"Feminists are not a dying breed. It's
not about thinking that women and
men are the same. It's about wanting
a world full of equality for women in
an equal partnership with men."
Marion Lip shuts, ontheatlantic.com
"Why must we focus on domestic
happiness? Isn't the whole point of
an enlightened, liberated life to exist
outside the duelling poles of the office
and the kitchen, to be more than just
worker or mother, understanding that
compromise must be made across the
board?" Lauren Sandler, onslate.com
Caitlyn, our four-year-old niece, lived on a farm and was watching her
dad and the vet work with some cattle. When the vet's hat fell off, she
jumped down and picked it up but continued searching for something.
Finally, she handed the bald vet his hat saying, "Here's your hat, but
I couldn't find your hair." Boni schiitroth
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 ; e a d e r s d ige s t . c o . i n
digest, co. in
SEE THE WORLD
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge St . c o . i n
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.
The Baha'f House of Worship in New Delhi is
also known as the Lotus Temple. Composed
of 27 marble "petals," it is surrounded by nine
ponds. Designed by Iranian-born architect
Fariborz Sahba (who now lives in Canada),
the temple has attracted over 70 million
visitors since its 1986 opening. The Baha'ism,
which has its origins in Iran, emphasizes the
essential equality of human beings and the
abolition of prejudice. The faith, which has
two million followers in India, is based on the
wisdoms of various Divine Teachers, who
include Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster,
Jesus and Mohammed. Photographer
Nicolas Chorier shot these images from a
camera affixed to a remote-controlled kite.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r sd ige St . c o . i n
READER'S DlG-&sy*6€BRUARY 2013 re a de r s dige s t . c o . / n
• • •
• • •
• • • •
BY JOANNE CHEN
from Marie Claire
Contrary to what
believed — that all
it really caused was
tooth decay — new
that the sweet
stuff is so bad for
our health, some
experts want it
regulated like a drug
s sugar worse for you than,
say, cocaine? According to
a 2012 article in the journal
Nature, it's a toxic substance
that should be regulated like
tobacco and alcohol. Stud-
ies show that too much sugar
(both in the form of natural su-
crose and high-fructose corn syrup)
not only helps make us fat, it also
wreaks havoc on our liver, mucks up
our metabolism, impairs brain func-
tion, and may leave us susceptible to
serious ailments. Experts say raising
awareness isn't enough, especially
when so many of our food options
contain sugar. "It's like watching a
train wreck in slow motion," says
co-author Laura Schmidt, PhD, a
researcher at the University of
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e s t . c o . i n
California, San Francisco.
Nevertheless, after hearing the
news, many of us shrugged and turned
back to our cupcakes. Yet we may
already be feeling the effects of too
much sugar without even realizing it.
Here's how to beat the most common
issues to prevent long-term damage
and feel your best right now.
For a pick-me-up, you may inhale
a bag of toffees or gobble up a box
of cookies. But the impulse goes
deeper. To examine the hold sugar
can have over us, substance-abuse
researchers have performed
brain scans on subjects eat-
Is Sugar Making
■ GS y say experts who contend that excess
sugar revs our rate of fat storage. Research sug-
gests that sugar has unique metabolic properties
that prime your body to gain weight, especially
dangerous belly fat linked to heart disease and
diabetes. Your liver metabolizes much of the sugar
you eat and converts excess to fat. Too much fat in
the liver accelerates insulin resistance.
Bllt David Katz, director of the Yale University
Prevention Research Center, cautions against
overly demonizing sugar. "Too much sugar is a
serious problem, but it's not the only problem in
our modern diet." Excess starches, such as artifi-
cially sweetened donuts, could also have this
effect, argues Dr Katz. What everyone agrees on:
Minimize added sugar and processed foods.
ing something sweet. What they've
seen resembles the mind of a drug
addict: When subjects taste sugar,
the brain lights up in the same regions
as it would in an alcoholic drinking
a bottle of gin. Dopamine — the so-
called reward chemical — spikes and
reinforces the desire to have more.
(Sugar also fuels the calming hormone
The Fix Many of us are more likely
to binge when stressed. That said,
a cookie a couple of times a week
is fine, but on most days, go for a
bowl of oats with no more than a
tablespoon of brown sugar, suggests
Jeffrey Fortuna, PhD, a health
and behaviour lecturer at Cali-
fornia State University.
The whole grains fill you
up, and the sweetness
can satisfy you while rais-
ing serotonin slightly.
Blanking out in the middle
of a meeting? Research
out of the University of Cali-
fornia, Los Angeles (UCLA),
suggests that too much
sugar forms free radicals
in the brain and compro-
mises nerve cells' abil-
ity to communicate. This
could have repercussions
on how well we remember
instructions, process ideas,
and handle our moods,
says Fernando Gomez-
Pinilla, PhD, author of the
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge st . co. i n
The Fix Stay under the American
Heart Association limit of nine tea-
spoons a day for men, five for women.
Read labels and nutrition informa-
tion and make wiser choices: a black
coffee and plain yogurt with walnuts,
sweetened with a teaspoon of honey
is definitely better than a regular latte
Sugar contributes to premature ag-
ing, just as cigarettes and UV rays do.
When skin support structures colla-
gen and elastin break down from sun
or other free-radical exposure, cells
try to repair themselves. But this pro-
cess slows down with age. And when
sugar is present in the skin, it forms
cross-links with amino acids that
may have been damaged by free radi-
cals. These cross-links jam the repair
mechanism and, over time, leave you
with prematurely old-looking skin.
The Fix Once cross-links form, they
won't unhitch, so keep sugar intake
to as close to zero as you can. "It's
the enemy," says William Danby, a
dermatologist with a medical college
in New Hampshire, USA. Avoid soft
drinks and processed pastries, and
trade sugar packets for cinnamon
for your coffee — it seems to slow
down cross-linking, as do cloves,
ginger, and garlic.
A Sluggish Workout
Muscles mostly use carbohydrates for
fuel because they break down into glu-
cose, a simple sugar that can kick-start
your morning jog. But prepackaged
snacks touting "natural sweeteners"
may contain just fructose, a type of
sugar that is mostly metabolized in the
liver, not the muscles. This can result
in bloating or even diarrhea.
The Fix Have a glucose-packed
snack with minimal fructose before
exercise, says Richard Johnson, pro-
fessor of medicine at the Univer-
sity of Colorado, USA. Try a sports
drink or an energy bar with a mod-
est amount of sugar an hour before a
MARIE CLAIRE (JULY 201 2), PUBLISHED BY THE HEARST CORP.,
300 WEST 57TH ST., NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10019.
Shopping in a supermarket, my friend spotted a pregnant woman
who looked ready to give birth. She ran to the manager's office
and screamed, "Do something! Her water's broken! I can see water
at her feet!"
Returning a week later, she bumped into the manager. "So did the
woman give birth?" she asked.
"Yes," he replied. "To a large frozen chicken that was hidden up
her shirt." Brenda Brennan
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e i s d ige s t . c o . i n
A former slave sends his "Old Master
' ' -:. and a bill
anuary 1, 2013, marked the 150th anniversary
of the Emancipation Proclamation. This ex-
ecutive order, passed by US President Abraham
Lincoln during the American Civil War that was
fought over slavery, declared "that all persons held
as slaves within the rebellious states are, and hence-
forward shall be free."
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 T e a d e r s d i ge st . c o . / n
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
One man who took full advantage of
his new freedom was Jourdon An-
derson, a slave who fled his abusive
"Master," Col. Patrick Anderson, in
Tennessee, to settle in Ohio as a free
man. Shortly after the Civil War, the
colonel beckoned Jourdon back to
the failing plantation. Jourdon sent
a droll reply in his place.
Dayton, Ohio, 7 August 1865
mt s£Jt>st'l I got your letter and was
glad to find that you had not forgotten
Jourdon, and that you wanted me to
come back and live with you again,
promising to do better for me than
anybody else can. I have often felt un-
easy about you. I thought the Yankees
would have hung you long before this
for harbouring Rebs* they found at
your house. I suppose they never heard
about your going to Colonel Martin's
me good to go back to the dear old
home again and see Miss Mary and
Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green,
and Lee. Give my love to them all, and
tell them I hope we will meet in the
better world, if not in this. I would
have gone back to see you all when I
was working in the Nashville Hospi-
tal, but one of the neighbours told me
that Henry intended to shoot me if he
ever got a chance.
I want to know particularly what the
good chance is you propose to give
me. I am doing tolerably well here. I
get twenty-five dollars a month, with
victuals and clothing; have a comfort-
able home for Mandy, the folks call
her Mrs Anderson; and the children —
Milly, Jane, and Grundy — go to school
and are learning well. The teacher says
Grundy has a head for a preacher.
We are kindly treated. Sometimes
we overhear others saying, "Them
coloured people were slaves" down
in Tennessee. The children feel hurt
when they hear such remarks, but I tell
them it was no disgrace in Tennessee
to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many
darkeys would have been proud, as I
to kill the Union soldier that was left
by his company in their stable.
Although you shot at me twice
before I left you, I did not want to
hear of your being hurt. It would do
* Rebel soldiers fighting for the southern states
trying to secede from the United States.
used to be, to call you Master.
Now, if you will write and say what
wages you will give me, I will be better
able to decide whether it would be to
my advantage to move back again.
As to my freedom, which you say
I can have, there is nothing to be
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge st . c o . i n
gained on that score, as I got my
free papers in 1864. Mandy says
she would be afraid to go back
without some proof that you were
disposed to treat us justly and
kindly, and we have concluded to
test your sincerity by asking you
to send us our wages for the time
we served you. This will make us
forget and forgive old scores and
rely on your justice and friend-
ship in the future. I served you
faithfully for thirty-two years, and
Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five
dollars a month for me, and two dol-
lars a week for Mandy, our earnings
would amount to eleven thousand
six hundred and eighty dollars. Add
to this the interest for the time our
wages have been kept back, and de-
duct what you paid for our clothing,
and three doctor's visits to me, and
pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the
balance will show what we are in
justice entitled to. Please send the
money by Adams's Express, in care
of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If
you fail to pay us for faithful labours
in the past, we can have little faith in
your promises in the future.
We trust the good Maker has opened
your eyes to the wrongs which you and
your fathers have done to me and my
fathers in making us toil for you for
generations without recompense. Here,
I draw my wages every Saturday night;
but in Tennessee, there was never any
payday for the negroes, any more than
for the horses and cows. Surely there
will be a day of reckoning for those
who defraud the labourer of his hire.
In answering this letter, please state
if there would be any safety for my
Milly and Jane, who are now grown
up, and both good-looking girls. You
know how it was with poor Matilda and
Catherine. I would rather stay here and
starve — and die, if it come to that — than
have my girls brought to shame by the
violence and wickedness of their young
Masters. You will also please state if
there has been any schools opened for
the coloured children in your neigh-
bourhood. The great desire of my life
now is to give my children an education
and have them form virtuous habits.
Say howdy to George Carter, and
thank him for taking the pistol from
you when you were shooting at me.
Things did not end well for Colonel
Anderson. His crops failed, forcing
him to sell his plantation for very
little. He died two years later, at age
44. Jourdon survived him by nearly
four decades, living well into his 70s.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d / g e s t . c o . / n
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re ad e rs d i ge s t . co . i n
visit to the
vendors in the
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 20 readersdigest.co.in
Don't panic, don't run," a soft German
voice says over my shoulder. "Above
all, don't change your mind."
I hesitate. We are talking about
crossing Dinh Tien Hoang Street, a
busy street in the Old Quarter
of Hanoi. On the road a steady
stream of motorbikes, rick-
shaws, and the occasional SUV
bear down from both direc-
tions. Change your mind the
way a deer does, the German
meant, and you'll be steam-
rollered. Walk carefully but
purposefully into the flow, and
you'll be kayaking.
I'd arrived in Vietnam with
my iPhone, a couple of
changes of clothes, and little
else. My idea was to go cheap,
keep it exotic, and try some-
thing new. I was determined
to see as much of Hanoi in
a week as possible, relying
on serendipity rather than
FROM NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER
(SEPT '11), © 201 1 BY NATIONAL
GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY, WASHINGTON, D.C
guidebooks to find my way.
I make my way across the boulevard
with the helpful German beside me.
Streams of vehicles part around us like
changing currents. Strangely, nobody
honks, and we reach the far kerb front-
ing Hoan Kiem Lake. "Thanks, man,"
I turn to say, but the German has dis-
Hoan Kiem Lake anchors this city
of 2.7 million in northern Vietnam.
The name means "Lake of the Re-
stored Sword," referring to the weapon
a legendary giant turtle gave General
Le Loi to drive out Chinese occupiers
in the 15 th century. The dark green ex-
panse of water is still populated by
turtles. The city celebrated its 1000th
Top: The Tran Quoc Pagoda dating to the
6th century towers over a temple
beside West Lake. Bottom: People on
the red bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake.
Hoan Kiem Lake
—"Lake of the
— anchors this city
of 27 million in
anniversary in 2010. It was in the year
1010 that the country's ruler, Ly Thai
To, moved the capital here. I watch
crowds of morning tai-chi'ers moving
on the shores and agile exercisers
playing badminton, using their feet
instead of rackets. Teenage girls pose
for pictures before a frescoed tiger at
the entrance to Ngoc Son Temple.
Worshippers burn joss sticks in the
Returning to my hotel, the Queen, I
head along Hang Be Street,
where I find a canvas-can-
opied "wet market." Fasci-
nated, I discover a dozen
species of shrimp, squid,
clams, and eel kept alive
in tanks lining the block.
A woman in high heels
rides up on her scooter.
She points to the eels, says
a few words, and watches
as the long fish are splayed
out as fillets and wrapped
in butcher paper. She takes
the package and putt-putts
"Buy it live! Cook it up!"
yells the fishmonger in
At a bakeshop I scoop
up some rolls, then forti-
fied, I jump on the back
seat of a "moto-taxi,"
which is what they call an autorick-
shaw. This is the way to experience
Hanoi — buzzing about like a wasp on
a jacked-up Vespa. My driver drops
me off at the Temple of Literature, a
centuries-old teaching university. Now
a tourist attraction, the temple is a
homage to Confucius, and the ancient
culture of Hanoi. It is peaceful and
otherworldly, arranged in a series of
linked courtyards. I walk past stelae —
what my graceful server describes as
"Have you read The Quiet Ameri-
can?" I ask the server, referring to the
understated Graham Greene novel
about the beginnings of the Vietnam
"Not all of it," she says, smiling. "But
I know it was written in the old wing
of the hotel."
I hold up the page I'm reading over
Hoa Lo Prison — later dubbed the
Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War
was built in the late 1800s.
carved, standing stones — shaped like
turtles etched with the names of re-
vered graduates dating to 1442. Then
I pass by the Well of Heavenly Clarity,
through the Gate of Great Success,
around the Great House of Ceremo-
nies, and into the higher education
hall. Here students and visitors kneel,
pray, and make small offerings to giant
ironwood statues of three early kings
and a bronze statue of a venerable
rector. The temple, it seems, is a kind
of church of learning.
I decide to visit the classic French
colonial Sofitel Legend Metropole
Hotel next. The room rates are well
beyond my "go cheap" budget, but the
hotel's Hanoi Street Buffet lunch, all
you can eat, is a bargain. I begin with
the crab asparagus soup and braised
squid, move on to steamed prawns in
cress leaf, then fill my plate with sea
bass and skate on lemongrass with
a dessert of dragonfruit and man-
gosteen. I'd forgotten to bring my own
copy of the book, but no matter; each
day an insistent student, working his
way through tour-guide school, some-
how finds me and proffers a basket
of titles, including Greene's classic,
bootlegged via photocopier.
Next morning, I head to Hoa Lo
Prison. Built in the late 1800s by the
French colonial government to hold
Vietnamese prisoners, Hoa Lo would
later house American POWs during
the Vietnam War, who referred to it as
the Hanoi Hilton. What remains of the
prison is now a museum. The empha-
sis is on the French occupation —
friezes of French jailers torturing
patriots in barrels of water or with
The square outside St Joseph's Cathe-
dral in Hanoi's Old Quarter is a popular
meeting place for young Vietnamese.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i go St . c O . / n
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013
sticks and clubs, and mannequins
depicting Vietnamese in shackles.
Some exhibits cover the "American
War," as the locals call it, and include
a looping video of former US Secre-
tary of Defence Robert McNamara
apologizing for the conflict.
At the Vietnam Military History
Museum, my next stop, I watch young
Vietnamese women posing for pic-
tures on the landing skids of a war-era
American Huey helicopter. When you
consider that some three million Viet-
namese died during the fighting, it
seems remarkable that the locals have
put the American War behind them.
"Don't look back" is a phrase that hangs
in the air over this contested city.
Saving the most popular of these
sombre attractions for last, the follow-
ing day I take in the Ho Chi Minh
Mausoleum. Uncle Ho, as he is known,
was the Marxist leader who became
An exhibit at the Vietnam Military
History Museum includes wreckage of
shot down and crashed aircraft.
the President of North Vietnam in
1945, and fought off the Japanese,
French, and Americans. At 8am, the
line at the gate is hundreds strong,
with buses of schoolchildren in white
shirts and red kerchiefs unloading all
around Ba Dinh Square.
Inside, Ho Chi Minh lies in repose
within a glass chamber. We all file by
silently, glancing at his bloated, waxen
corpse. It's a little creepy, so I take my
leave and repair to the Green Tangerine
restaurant back in the Old Quarter. I'm
pretty happy with my serendipitous
approach to this charmingly contradic-
tory city, where visitors can delve into
both war and seafood, being careful to
"don't look back" yet "don't forget."
On my last full day in Hanoi, a city
of small shops, I go on a buying spree.
I buy half a dozen exquisite striped silk
pyjama sets, $18 each. I buy lacquered
art vases, buffalo horn jewellery, beau-
tifully embroidered purses from the
hill tribes — so much made-in-Vietnam
loot that I ask my hotel manager where
to get luggage to carry it all.
•When to go The best
months to visit are March
and April when the weather
is balmy and September
through November when it
is cooler but still dry and
•Visas Indian nationals re-
quire a visa to visit Vietnam.
Contact the Vietnamese
embassy for the visa or
letter of approval for a visa
•Where to stay Tourists
with a taste for luxury
might consider the Sofitel
Legend Metropole Hotel
en) or the Hotel de Opera
in the Old Quarter.
Less pricey but still very
comfortable options are
the Quoc Hoa Hotel
Church Boutique Hotels
even less expensive, the
Queen Hotel (azqueentra-
vel.com) all in the Old
•Where to eat Ask 100
people where the best
place to eat in Hanoi is and
yo u get 1 00 d iff e re nt
answers. Popular spots
are: the Green Tangerine
com), 48 Heng Be, north of
Hoan Kiem Lake, featuring
fusion menu, and the Nha
Hang Ngon Restaurant,
26 Tran Hung Dao, in an
old colonial style building
in the Old Quarter and
known locally for its excel-
"I'll call my friend," he says. I arrive
after hours at the friend's shop. He
opens the door, rubbing his eyes
sleepily, and leads me upstairs to his
storeroom filled with racks of soft
packs and hard-shell luggage.
"I'd like several of these packs," I
'Forty dollars each."
Fifteen," I counter.
The door opens. It's his wife in a
"Thirty dollars," she says, taking
"Twenty-five," I say.
The man punches keys on his calcu-
lator and shows his wife the total. Wife
Suddenly, a surprised scream. It's
their embarrassed 13-year-old daugh-
ter, her face plastered with thin slices
of cucumber. We parents laugh. The
girl retreats to the bathroom then
pivots and flashes a twin Nixonian
It's an innocent moment. "Inno-
cence is a kind of insanity," Graham
Greene chided. My six days in Hanoi
have been a bit of both, in a most
"Hair is the first thing. And teeth the second. Hair and teeth. A man got
those two things he's got it all." James Brown
"My husband said he wanted to have a relationship with a redhead, so
I dyed my hair." Jane Fonda
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge s t . c o. i n
BY KRISTEN GELINEAU AND RAVI NESSMAN
from The Associated Press
Right: a photograph
of Saroo Brierley as
a young boy, taken
soon after he arrived
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 rea ders dige s t . c o . in
Saroo was just six years old
when he got hopelessly lost.
Twenty-five years later, and
from another side of the
world, he started searching
on Google Earth for clues
that would lead him home
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r sd i g e st . c o . / n
The six-year-old woke still curled on
the hard wooden seat, where he'd
drifted off to sleep. The rattle of the
train was loud and steady, as it always
was when he rode home with his big
brother, Guddu. But Guddu was not
there. And the landscape flashing past
looked nothing like home. Saroo's
heart began to pound. The entire coach
was empty. His brother should have
been there, sweeping under the seats
for loose change. Where was he?
This fateful train ride set into
motion a chain of events that Saroo
wouldn't understand for decades,
events that would tear him from
his family and his country. But right
now, he only knew that nothing was
as it should be. Wild with fear, he ran
through the empty compartment,
calling out for his brother and mother.
Only the thunder of the train on its
tracks answered his cries.
Fatima Munshi was frantic. When she
returned home after a hard day's
work her two young sons still weren't
there. They should have been back
Fatima lived for her children. She
had little else. Born to Hindu peasants
and orphaned at age ten, she had no
family to offer support or protection.
But she had grit. As a teenager on
a construction site, carrying cement in
a broad bowl balanced on her head, she
caught the eye of her supervisor. In a
whirlwind romance, they got married.
She converted to Islam, they moved
to Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh and
she bore three sons. When they grew
up, she dreamed, they'd live in big
homes nearby and each of them would
give her ten rupees a day so she
wouldn't have to work and could look
after her grandchildren.
Then her husband stopped coming
home, first for a night, then longer.
He stopped supplying money and
food. Eventually, despite the fact that
Fatima was pregnant again, he took
a second wife. One day, desperate,
Fatima confronted him. She beat
him with a shoe; he beat her with a
stick. In front of village elders, they
divorced on the spot.
Fatima was an abandoned woman
with four young children. She went
back to work. Guddu, about eight,
and Saroo, two years younger, took
to begging for food and change. Often
she put them to bed with only water.
"Amma, give us food," they would
beg. "There is none," she'd answer in
shame. I have nothing, she thought
on those wretched nights, but at least
I have my children.
Saroo struggled to think. He
remembered he and Guddu had taken
the train from their local station to
another to hunt for change. When
they arrived, a weary Saroo collapsed
onto a platform seat. Guddu promised
to be back in a minute and walked off.
When Saroo opened his eyes, a train
was waiting. Guddu must be on board,
he'd thought, in a sleepy fog. He
boarded the train and drifted off again,
thinking his brother would wake him
© 201 2, BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 50 ROCKEFELLER PLAZA, NEW YORK
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re a d e r S d i g e S t . c o . i n
when they neared home.
But now the train was coming to a
halt. There was no Guddu, and this was
not Khandwa. Saroo stepped out into
chaos. Hordes of people, pushing,
rushing. Speaking in an unfamiliar
tongue. He was in Kolkata nearly
1500km from home. It might as well
have been Mars.
He pleaded for help. But he spoke
Hindi, and most others spoke Bengali.
He didn't know his surname, or the city
he came from — only his neighbour-
hood. No one understood him. Frantic,
he boarded another train, hoping it
would take him home. It looped back
to Kolkata. He hopped another train,
and another. They all returned to this
strange, frightening place. Saroo did
this for days, begging other passengers
for food. Eventually, he
ventured into the streets.
identifiable body by the tracks, then
cremated him. Fatima fainted.
Saroo ended up in a government
centre for abandoned children. The
bigger kids picked on him. No one
spoke his language. He tried to explain
who he was, but it was hopeless.
Weeks later he was transported to
the Indian Society for Sponsorship and
Adoption. He had a comfortable bed,
fresh clothes, plenty of food. The staff
hunted for his family, using scraps of
information that Saroo remembered.
It wasn't enough. The government
declared him a lost child.
Months went by. Then one day, he
was told a new family wanted him.
They lived in a place far away, called
His mother took to the
When night fell, Fatima
panicked. She and a neigh-
bour went to the station to
look for her boys. They
searched the market where
the boys would be. She went to the
fountain where they liked to play.
There was no sign of them.
She had never been on a train
before, but the next day she and her
neighbour rode to other towns, asking
police if they had seen her sons. She
widened her search. She cried and
prayed at a holy crypt.
Then she saw a police officer she
knew. Guddu was dead, he said, either
fallen off the train or pushed. Police
had photographed the mangled but
rails again. She searched
railv ly stations, police
Meanwhile, Fatima wondered, where
was her happy young son who would
accompany her to work sites and build
little roads out of rock? She'd nursed
him for eight days after he was kicked
in the face by a horse. She wouldn't
give up now.
She took to the rails again. She
searched railway stations in Bhopal
and Secunderabad, police stations in
Hyderabad, jails in Mumbai. She didn't
go to Kolkata. She couldn't imagine he
had gone so far.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.in
Saroo landed in Tasmania, Australia,
with the photographs the adoption
agency had given him of his new par-
ents, his new house. He was nervous
and shy; his new parents were patient
and kind. His new home was a palace:
four bedrooms and a big backyard. His
new last name was Brierley.
Saroo went to school, learnt English,
made friends. But on restless nights,
he thought about his mother and
Guddu. Often, he prayed: if there is
anything magical in the world, could
you help me find my family?
After three months of travelling on
different trains, Fatima was exhausted.
She abandoned her physical search
but every Thursday she walked for an
hour to a holy tomb to offer incense
He scrolled further.
The waterfall where
His house... he'd recently used
Google's satellite feature to get a
bird's-eye view of his Australian
house. Would it have similar images
of his homeland? He called up a
map of India, then randomly zoomed
in on a train track and followed it,
searching for something familiar.
He zeroed in on Kolkata and worked
backwards. He narrowed down the
search area by multiplying the ap-
proximate time he'd been on the train
by an estimate of how fast an Indian
train could have travelled.
It was a needle in a haystack.
His hunt dragged on for years.
His girlfriend watched him searching
night after night. She wondered if
he would ever stop.
he used to swim
heart was pounding.
and roses in prayer for Saroo's return.
Her two remaining children, Kallu
and Shakila, watched her cry.
Saroo grew up. He was now a
university student studying business
and hospitality. Years had passed since
that awful train ride, but he hadn't
stopped searching for answers. All he
had were vivid memories of his town —
the waterfall he played in, the fountain
near the cinema. The laneways sur-
rounding his house.
In Ganesh Talai, Madhya
Pradesh, Fatima refused to
give up. She had never heard
of Google but for nearly 25
years she'd been a regular
visitor to fortune tellers seek-
ing an answer. One of them
Saroo's eyes drifted across an image
of yet another railway station and
froze. The walkover bridge, the water
tank — exactly as he remembered. He
scrolled further. The waterfall where
he used to swim. The fountain. His
heart was pounding.
The map listed the town as
"Khandwa." He plugged the name into
Facebook. Bam — a group called
"'Khandwa' My Home Town." On
31 March 2011, he wrote: "can anyone
READER'S DIGE5T FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r S d i g e s t . c o . / n
How he did it
Top: the dam and waterfall;
middle: the fountain; bottom:
Saroo's old tin-roofed house.
Right: Saroo in Hobart, Australia,
help me, i think im from Khandwa. i
havent seen or been back to the place
for 24 years. Just wandering if there is
a big fountain near the Cinema?"
The response was vague. On 3 April
2011, Saroo tried again: "Can anyone
tell me, the name of the town or
suburb on the top right-hand side of
Khandwa? I think it starts with G..."
The administrator answered him the
next day: "Ganesh Talai." Ganesh
He knew he had to go back. But
what was he going back to?
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re ad e r sd i ge s t . co . i n
On 12 February 2012, Saroo Brierley
stepped out of a train carriage into
the chaotic landscape that had
haunted his dreams.
His loved ones in Australia had
warned him not to expect too much.
He remembered the poverty, the
hunger. He'd spent years wondering
about the fate of his family, and tried
now to prepare himself for the worst.
Everything seemed much smaller
than in his memory. But the smells
and sounds were the same, and the
layout almost exactly as he had
remembered. He began to walk,
following pathways etched into his
brain as a child.
Saroo stared at the house in front
of him in shock. It was the place
he'd called home so long ago. It
seemed impossibly tiny. A woman
came out of the adjacent house.
She asked, in hybrid Hindi-English,
if he needed help or directions.
Saroo pulled out a copy of a
childhood photo his Australian
parents had taken of him. He showed
it and tried to explain. He said the
names of his siblings and mother,
waiting for a flicker of recognition.
More neighbours were gathering.
Did someone, anyone, know where
his family was?
A man plucked the photo
from Saroo's hand. "Wait here," he
said, and hurried off. A few minutes
later, he returned. "Come with me," he
said. "I am going to take you to your
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e s t . c o . / n
mother." The man guided him around
the corner, where three women stood
waiting. Only the one in the middle
seemed remotely familiar. "This is
your mother," the man said, gesturing
towards her. Behind the weathered
face there was something unmistaka-
ble. Unforgettable. Mother. His
They grabbed each other
and hugged tightly. He
couldn't find words, so he
just held her. The scar from
the horse kick was still there
on his forehead, and he had
the chin dimple that marked
all her children, but Fatima
would have recognized him anyway.
She led him by the hand to her new
home and hugged him for what felt
like an hour.
"My Saroo is back," she said. "The
almighty has finally answered my
prayers." Saroo wept, overwhelmed.
She told him about her search and
how she had never given up hope.
He was devastated to learn about his
brother's grisly death.
Fatima called Kallu and Shakila
with the news. Kallu raced over. "You
will be happy now," he told his mother.
"Your son is back."
But closure proved complicated.
Saroo's questions about his family were
answered, but new ones took their
place. Can a mother and son separated
by decades, thousands of kilometres
and different cultures fit back together
again? They couldn't communicate.
Fatima knew no English. Saroo re-
membered only a handful of Hindi
words. He drank bottled water so he
wouldn't get sick. Even his name was
strange. They pronounced it "SHEH
roo" in keeping with the local dialect;
for him, over time, it had been angli-
cized to "SAH roo."
Their ten days together went by too
fast. Local media kept trying to inter-
They grabbed each
other and hugged. He
couldn't find v rds, so
he just held her.
view him. Neighbours stopped by to
meet the boy who had miraculously
returned. There was little time for the
family to be alone. Suddenly, they
were standing outside the airport
terminal. He said goodbye, then
walked inside. It wasn't long before
he came back out, to see if she was
still there. She was, and waited with
him until he finally had to leave. He
promised he would return.
In Tasmania, the media frenzy
intensified. He turned off his phone
at night to silence the relentless
Saroo began putting $100 a month
into a bank account for Fatima, so
that she could quit her job cleaning
homes and washing dishes. The
money covers Fatima's essentials —
food, clothing and rent. She has kept
her job, but has been able to reduce
her work hours. Still, the gulf between
mother and son remains vast.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge s t . c o . i n
Fatima and Shakila beg a visitor to
phone Saroo for them. Through a
translator, Fatima asks if he is eating.
Then she complains he doesn't call
enough. They don't speak the same
language, so communication is very
difficult, Saroo says. Instead he sends
text messages to his brother or
Fatima's close neighbour, who both
speak English, to have translated and
passed on to her.
She grows sarcastic: "Take care
of the family you are staying with,
don't bother with this family here."
They need to understand the difficult
position he is in, he says. Then he
announces he intends to come back
as much as possible. He would like
to raise money to buy her a house. "Just
stay calm and be happy that I'm alive
and you know where I am," he says in
exasperation. Fatima is in such a fury,
the translator stops interpreting her
words. "How could I have known that
my son would not come back?" she
hisses into the phone.
But Saroo doesn't want to overthink
their reunion. For him, it has been a
miracle. "Instead of going to bed at
night and thinking, How is my family?
Are they still alive? I can let those ques-
tions rest." He hopes to visit India once
or twice a year, but he cannot move
back. He has other responsibilities,
other family and a whole other life in
Tasmania. He is Australian now.
Fatima is confused and frustrated.
She doesn't want him to move back
to India, where he won't be comfort-
able. But she wants to be with him.
Maybe she can move to Australia, she
says. But a few minutes later she says
she couldn't really move to an unfa-
miliar place where no one can talk
She tries to understand that he has
new parents, new expectations and
a new life. She just wants him to see
her once in a while, to call her occa-
sionally, even if they can only speak a
few sentences to each other. "For the
moment," she says, "it's enough for me
that I went to him. And he called me
MAYBE ON BOARD
Google's self-driving cars have clocked more than 320,000 kilometres
on busy highways and city streets using radar and computers to avoid
obstacles. The Week [US] asked its readers to name the first mass-
produced car that has no need for a human driver:
The Ford Siesta
Toyota Control la
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e st . c o . i n
UPDATES FROM THE
WORLD OF MEDICINE
There may be something
to that adage after all:
who started eating an
apple a day saw a dramatic
40% drop in their oxidized
LDL, which is a particularly
hardening form of "bad"
cholesterol. In the small,
month-long study, partici-
pants who took pills
amount of polyphenol
in apples also saw a
decrease, though signifi-
cantly smaller. Further
studies are needed to dis-
cover why eating whole
apples maximizes the
Source: Robert DiSilvestro, PhD,
professor of human nutrition,
Ohio State University
Eating cherries has long
been a home remedy for
gout — a painful arthritic
condition that attacks
joints in the bigtoe and
other areas — and now
a new study supports its
efficacy. Gout sufferers
who ate about a cup and
: a half of cherries over a
: couple of days lowered
their risk of a flare-up by
35% compared with those
who didn't eat the fruit.
Eating cherries in addition
to taking gout medication
cut the risk by 75%.
Researchers believe that
antioxidants in the
cherries might have
and that the fruit also
reduces blood-acid levels.
Source: Yuqing Zhang, DSc, professor
of medicine and public health, Boston
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge st . co. i n
New standards in the
USA — something others
should also adopt —
finally require clear,
on prescription medica-
tions to help reduce
emergency visits due to
adverse drug effects.
will appear in large,
uncluttered print on a
clean background, with
tion tucked below. Instruc-
tions for use will be in
layman's terms ("for high
blood pressure" instead
of "for hypertension,"
for example). The new
labels should start appear-
ing in US pharmacies soon.
Source: United States Pharmacopeial
Convention, Rockville, Maryland, usp.org
"I told you — never put your phone on vibrate!
y wife is a very adventurous
and successful cook. "How
does this sound?" she called out to
me from the kitchen, "Bonito, surimi
and anchovies in a decadent, silky
"Sounds delicious," I said. "Is that
what we're having tonight?"
"No," she replied. "I'm just
reading from this
packet of cat food."
good citizen," said
after a vacation
with my three
noticed bits of
my 71 -year-old mother
to my son while wishing
him a happy Children's Day
"Thank you," replied my 13-year-
old son. "You be a good senior
citizen." Ratna Kusnur, Mumbai
paper lying below my
bookshelf. Guessing it
would be the work of a
rat, I hurriedly opened
the shelf to see which of
my precious books had
been damaged. I found
a bunch of pink, just-
delivered baby rats, all
lying on one fat book:
Dr Benjamin Spock's
Baby and Child Care.
Seetha Kannan, Chennai
I was bumping away on
my seat on one of our
local public buses
recently when my eye
was drawn to a notice in the win-
dow: "Free fare for WWI veterans."
I did my maths, counting all ten
fingers over and over, and figured
that such a person would have to be
over a hundred years old. After I
pointed this out to the friendly
driver, he said, "Well then, if some
joker comes onboard and tries that
on, I'm going to ask for ID."
"ID?" I replied. "I'd
be asking, 'What's
your secret?' "
An hour after I'd
put my seven-
year-old son to
bed, I heard him
reader's digest February 2013 reade rsdigest.co.in
cry out. I ran to his room, where I
found him sobbing.
"Mummy, I had a bad nightmare
about a big monster," he said. "And
he had a face just like yours."
When I took my ten-year-old
grandson on his first flea market
visit, I taught him the fine art of
"Say someone's selling a hunting
knife for ^200. Offer him ?150," I
instructed. He got the concept, and
when he spotted a ring he wanted
that was selling for ^50, he went
"I only have ?30," he
told the woman at the
She smiled. "Then ^30
With that, he pulled out
a ^50 note and waited for
me for a story about when she
"Daddy brought Mummy to the
hospital, and the doctor helped you
to be born," I began. "When you
came out, we both said, 'What is it?'
And the doctor said, 'It's a girl!' "
"How did the doctor know I was
a girl?" asked Chantelle.
"Well, when you were born, you
came with no clothes on."
"Ahh," said Chantelle. "And
boys have clothes on."
Your anecdote in "Life!" could be worth
?iooo. Post it to the Editorial address or
OH, SIM, YOU'RE SO ... EERIE
Siri is the personal assistant heard on iPhones.
Ask her a question, and she's sure to find an answer
even if she has to make it up, like these clever
(and real) responses:
« What's the meaning of
Scene: My recent eluci-
dating phone conversa-
tion with a car-rental
Me: "Hello. I'm calling to
see if I can rent a four-
wheel-drive vehicle at the
"Yes, ma'am, all our vehi-
cles have four wheels."
My three-year-old daugh-
ter, Chantelle, begged
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e ad c rsd igest. CO. i n
AFTER TEN YEARS OF LOOKING
FOR THE AL-QAEDA MASTERMIND,
THE AMERICANS FINALLY HAD
HIM IN THEIR SIGHTS
FROM THE BOOK MANHUNT BY PETER BERGEN
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 re ad e rs d i ge St . c O . i n
JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT ON MAY 2, 2011,
THE RESIDENTS OF OSAMA BIN LADEN'S
COMPOUND IN ABBOTTABAD, PAKISTAN,
WERE STARTLED AWAKE BY THE STRANGE
SOUNDS OF EXPLOSIONS NEARBY.
Bin Laden's daughter Miriam, age
20, rushed upstairs to the al-Qaeda
leader's top-floor bedroom. She asked
him what was going on. "Go down-
stairs and go back to bed," bin Laden
Bin Laden had been hiding out in
his sprawling one-acre compound for
more than five years. He slept on the
third floor with his newest and young-
est wife, a spirited 28-year-old Yemeni
named Amal. Two older wives, Khay-
riya and Siham, resided in their own
quarters on the floors below, along
with a number of bin Laden's children.
In the outbuildings of the compound
lived two of bin Laden's oldest and
On a shelf in bin Laden's bedroom
were the AK-47 and a Makarov semi-
automatic pistol that were his constant
companions. But he didn't reach for
them. Instead, he turned to Amal and
told her, "Don't turn on the light."
It was a pointless admonition. Some-
one — it is still not clear who — had
turned off the electricity feeding the
neighbourhood. This silent precaution
gave the approaching US Navy's Sea,
Air, Land Teams (SEALs) a large advan-
tage on that moonless night. Indeed,
those would be the last words Osama
bin Laden would ever utter.
ACQUIRING THE TARGET
The United States had been hunting
bin Laden for ten years. In early 2011
military intelligence sources reported
that the al-Qaeda leader had been
living in Abbottabad for several years.
They were between 60 and 80 percent
certain that Osama bin Laden was in
At a White House meeting on 28
April 2011, Barack Obama's top mili-
tary adviser, Admiral Mike Mullen,
walked the president through a plan
to raid the compound. Mullen said he
had attended a full-scale rehearsal,
and he knew his team could do it. But
Vice President Joseph Biden argued
against a raid. "We need greater
certainty that bin Laden is there," he
told his boss.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
gave a long, lawyerly presentation
examining both the upsides and
downsides of a raid. Finally, she
•'MANHUNT: THE TEN YEAR SEARCH FOR BIN LADEN," ©2012 BY PETER BERGEN.
PUBLISHED BY CROWN PUBLISHING GROUP, A DIVISION OF RANDOM HOUSE, INC., NEW YORK
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 rei.idersdigcst.co.in
summarized: "It's a very close call, but
I would say: Do the raid."
CIA Director Leon Panetta argued
in favour. "I've always used the test,"
he concluded, "what would the aver-
age American say? If you told the av-
erage American — we have the chance
to get the terrorist who attacked us on
9/11 — I think they would say, 'We
President Obama listened to his se-
nior advisers, but kept his own views
to himself. "Obviously," he said later,
"I knew that if we were unsuccessful,
there was the potential not only for
loss of life — [among] the incredibly
brave SEALs who were going in — but
also there would be huge geopolitical
Next morning, Friday, April 29, he
gathered his military advisers at the
White House. "Is there anything
new?" he asked.
Obama said simply, "I've considered
the decision: It's a go."
BUSINESS AS USUAL
Around 8am on Sunday, May 1, in
Washington, top American security
advisers began arriving at the White
House. They were careful to project
a show of business as usual. President
Obama even left for his usual Sunday
round of golf.
The biggest concern of the Ameri-
cans was the sensitive location of the
bin Laden compound. Abbottabad is
a city of some 500,000 souls, sitting
just west of Kashmir in the foothills
of the Himalayas, and home to a num-
ber of excellent schools, including
Pakistan's leading military academy.
The Americans were carrying out a
secret military operation in Pakistan,
a nominal ally. The Pakistanis might
react. What if Pakistani soldiers
stumbled on the operation? It could
lead to a shootout. Not good.
At 1pm in Washington, as night fell
11,200km away in Pakistan, President
Obama's advisers convened in the
White House Situation Room. At
1:22pm CIA Director Panetta told
Admiral William McRaven, who
would lead the charge on bin Laden
from Jalalabad, in eastern Afghani-
stan, to begin the raid. "Go in there
and get bin Laden," he ordered. "And
if bin Laden isn't in there, get the
At 2pm Obama himself returned
from his golf game. He went straight
to the Situation Room.
It was now just past 11pm in Abbot-
tabad, and the bin Laden household
was in bed. Bin Laden was the abso-
lute monarch of his family, and he
insisted they all live an austere life.
They slaughtered their own goats for
meat. Milk came from their own cows,
eggs from their own chickens, and
vegetables from their own kitchen
garden. The compound was approach-
able by a single mud road. The 12-foot
walls, barbed wire and security cam-
eras gave it the look of a minimum-
Bin Laden's top-floor sanctuary had
windows on only one side, just small
slits above eye level, with one larger
window looking out over a small,
high-walled terrace. The bedroom
ceiling was low, no more than seven
feet high, which was cramped for a
man as tall as bin Laden. The tiny
bathroom off to the side had only a
rudimentary toilet and a cheap plastic
shower. In this bathroom bin Laden
regularly applied dye to his hair and
beard to try to maintain a youthful
appearance now that he was in his
Bin Laden almost certainly kept up
the religious practices of his youth, ris-
ing before dawn and praying seven
times a day, twice more than is re-
quired in traditional Islam. He spent
his days wrapped in a blanket against
the mountain cold, review-
ing old videos of himself,
monitoring Al Jazeera tele-
vison and BBC radio, and
books. He was attended by
three of his four wives — his
first wife, Najwa, had re-
turned to her native Syria
in the summer of 2001.
By virtue of her age and
stern temperament, 62 -year-old Khay-
riya, a teacher of deaf-mute children
before she married bin Laden in 1985,
was highest in the wifely pecking or-
der. Next came 54-year-old Siham,
who had obtained a PhD in Koranic
grammar while she was living with
the al-Qaeda leader in Sudan in the
mid-1990s, and who often edited her
husband's writings. There was little
fighting among bin Laden's spouses.
All of them had gone into marriage
knowing it would be a polygamous
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 rea de rs digc s t . CO . in
ACROSS THE BORDER
In Jalalabad, Afghanistan, 240km to
the west of Abbottabad, a SEAL team
got ready to board two Black Hawk
helicopters. The team consisted of 23
operators and an interpreter, as well
as a combat dog named Cairo wearing
body armour just like his SEAL com-
rades. The operators carried small
cards filled with photos and descrip-
tions of bin Laden's family.
The two Black Hawks took off and
crossed the Pakistani border in about
15 minutes. The choppers were painted
with exotic emulsions designed to
evade radar, and their tail rotors had
been designed to make them less
noisy. They flew "nap-of-the-earth,"
which means perilously low and very
fast — only a few feet above the ground,
hugging the valleys that penetrate the
foothills of the Hindu Kush mountain
range. After crossing the border, the
choppers swung north of Peshawar
and its millions of residents and eye-
balls. Total flight time to the target
was about an hour and a half.
Once the Black Hawks were in Pak-
istan, three bus-size Chinook helicop-
ters took off from Jalalabad. One
landed just inside the Afghan border
with Pakistan, and two flew on to Kala
Dhaka in the remote mountainous re-
gion of Swat, about 80km northwest
of Abbottabad, landing on the banks
of the Indus River. On board were two
dozen SEALs who would go forward
if the SEALs on the Black Hawks en-
countered serious opposition.
When the two Black Hawks reached
their destination, the carefully planned
operation began to unravel. As the
first chopper tried to land in the court-
yard, it suddenly lost altitude. The
tail of the craft clipped one of the
compound walls. The pilot could no
longer control the chopper, and so to
avoid a potentially catastrophic crash
he buried the nose in the mud. Be-
cause of his quick thinking, the SEALs
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r c a d c r scl i gc St . c o . i n
on board did not sustain serious
injuries. They clambered out of the
The plan had been for the two Black
Hawks to drop off the two dozen men
before flying out to a distant rendez-
vous point, where they would wait for
the signal to return. The hope was that
locals would assume the choppers
were visiting the nearby military acad-
emy. Now one Black Hawk was down,
and any chance that the mission might
remain "deniable" was gone. So was
the element of surprise.
President Obama watched this all
unfold on the grainy video feed
beamed from a drone — an unmanned
aircraft — flying high above the com-
pound. Everyone was holding their
breath. In Panetta's conference room
at the CIA, there was silence as the
footage of the downed helicopter
flickered on the screen. Admiral
McRaven, from Jalalabad, said with-
out any shift in tone, "We will now be
amending the mission. We have a
helicopter down. My men are pre-
pared for the contingency." A minute
later he ordered the SEALS waiting in
the Chinook helicopter north of the
compound to get to Abbottabad.
At the compound, three SEALs from
the downed chopper ran across a small
field and opened a door on one of the
inside walls, leading to a self-contained
annex area. They found a one-storey
building where bin Laden's courier, a
man called "the Kuwaiti," lived with
his family. The Kuwaiti poked his head
out from behind a metal gate, and the
SEALs shot him twice, killing him.
They also wounded the Kuwaiti's wife
with a shot to her right shoulder. Their
silenced weapons made little noise.
The courier's AK-47 was later found
by his bedside.
SCREAM IN THE BEDROOM
Meanwhile, the second Black Hawk
pilot had seen what happened to the
first chopper, and he settled his craft
down just outside the compound
walls. The SEALs jumped out, four of
them to secure the outside perimeter
of the compound, together with the
interpreter and Cairo. The dog would
track anyone trying to escape, while
discouraging any inquisitive neigh-
bours from getting too close.
The other eight SEALs from the sec-
ond chopper set an explosive charge
on a solid metal door on one of the
compound's exterior doors, only to be
greeted by a solid brick wall. Dead
end. Soon after that, their colleagues
from the downed chopper let them in
through the main gate.
Up in his top-floor bedroom, bin
Laden was a victim of his own secu-
rity arrangements. The few windows
ensured that no one could look in to
see him, but now it was impossible for
him to see what was going on outside
the small room he shared with Amal.
Dressed in tan salwar-kameez robes,
the leader of al-Qaeda just waited in
the dark, paralyzed as the Americans
stormed his last refuge.
Three SEALs went from the Ku-
waiti's one-story building through a
metal gate into a grassy courtyard in
front of the main house. The SEALs
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigcst.co.in
Obama and his advisers, including
Biden (far left) and Hillary Clinton
(2nd from right), watch events
unfold on a video feed.
entered the first floor. On their left
was a bedroom where they shot Abrar,
the Kuwaiti's brother, and his wife,
killing them both.
The SEALs passed a kitchen and two
large storage rooms to a stairwell at
the back of the house. Blocking their
way to the upper two floors was a
massive, locked metal gate. The SEALs
blasted their way through this gate.
As they ran up to the second floor,
they encountered bin Laden's 23-year-
old son Khalid, whom they shot on the
staircase. Knots of children were now
gathering on the stairs and landings.
Bin Laden opened a metal gate out-
side his bedroom and poked his head
out to see what the commotion was.
He was immediately spotted by the
SEALs, who bounded up the next flight
of stairs. Retreating inside, bin Laden
did not lock the gate behind him,
allowing the SEALs to run past it into
a short corridor and then into his
Amal screamed something in
Arabic and then threw herself in front
of her husband. The first SEAL who
charged into the room shoved her
aside, concerned she might be wear-
ing a suicide bomb vest. Amal was
shot in the calf by another SEAL, and
collapsed unconscious onto the mat-
tress she shared with bin Laden.
Bin Laden offered no resistance as
he was dispatched with a double tap
of shots to the chest and his left
eye. It was a grisly scene. The floor
near the bed was smeared with bin
"WE GOT HIM"
On the audio feed, McRaven heard the
SEAL team give the code word Geron-
imo. Each step of the operation had
been labelled with a letter, and G
meant that bin Laden had been "se-
cured." McRaven relayed word to the
White House, then asked the SEALs, "Is
he EKIA [Enemy Killed in Action]?"
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r C a (1 C r s d i gc St . C O . i n
A few seconds later the answer
came back, "Roger, Geronimo, EKIA."
Then McRaven announced to the
White House, "Geronimo, EKIA."
There were gasps in the Situation
Room, but no whoops or high fives.
The president quietly said, "We got
him, we got him."
The SEALs grabbed bin Laden's
body and dragged it down the stairs
of the residence. Outside the com-
pound, the interpreter waved off curi-
ous neighbours, telling them in the
local language that a security opera-
tion was going on and they should go
home. In the 23 minutes after they
killed bin Laden, some SEALs wired
the disabled chopper with explosives
THERE WERE GA
SITUATION RO but no
while others gathered up computers,
cellphones and pen drives that littered
bin Laden's residence. The SEALs also
rounded up the more than a dozen
women and children and moved them
out of the way so they could blow up
the downed helicopter.
One SEAL operator took a photo of
bin Laden's face and uploaded the pic-
ture to a server. It was sent to Wash-
ington, where two separate teams of
facial recognition experts compared
the picture to existing photographs,
to provide quick confirmation that it
was the al-Qaeda leader. SEALs also
extracted samples of tissue for DNA
In Washington, officials watching
the video feed from the stealth drone
saw the two distinctive large rotors of
a Chinook helicopter arriving at the
compound. The officials also saw the
SEAL teams on the ground gathering
outside the compound wall waiting to
board the chopper for the flight back
to base. The video feed then showed
a massive fireball as the downed heli-
copter was blown up. The backup
Chinook took off from Abbottabad
with the SEALs from the disabled bird
and all the material seized
from the compound, as
well as bin Laden's body.
The wives and children
were left behind.
On the way out of Ab-
bottabad, the Chinook and
the Black Hawk separated,
making them harder to
detect as they headed to-
wards Afghanistan. Both
flew more direct routes than they had
on the way in, since speed rather than
stealth was now the essence.
At about 2am local time, 6:30pm
back in Washington, the Chinook
landed safely in Jalalabad; the entire
operation had taken a little over three
hours. Admiral McRaven inspected
bin Laden's corpse. They stretched
the body out to its full length but
didn't have a tape measure to confirm
that the corpse measured six feet four,
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigcst.co.in
the height of the al-Qaeda
leader, so a SEAL of roughly
the same height lay down
next to the body. The height
was a match.
Shortly after this confirma-
tion, the CIA's director for
science and technology called
in to Leon Panetta. "We've
gotten the facial analysis," Pa-
netta relayed to the president,
"We believe it's bin Laden
with 95 percent confidence."
Pakistani security officials began ar-
riving at the Abbottabad compound
within a few minutes after the SEALs
had left. They could hear the sound of
the helicopters fading into the dis-
tance. They saw the burning helicop-
ter, and inside the main residence they
found several women screaming and
shouting, and 14 children, all hand-
cuffed. They also found four dead bod-
ies, two in the annex building and two
on the ground floor of the main build-
ing. On the top floor, bin Laden's
youngest wife, Amal, lay unconscious
on the bed, wearing a black burkha, as
if she had been planning to go out.
An older woman told the officials
in English. "They have killed and
taken away Abu Hamza."
One of the officials asked, "Well,
who is Abu Hamza?"
She replied, "Osama bin Laden.
They've killed the father of my son."
The Pakistanis took bin Laden's
three wives and his children into
custody and placed them under house
arrest while they were debriefed by
Pakistani miltary intelligence investi-
Back at the White House, Obama's
team realized that the bin Laden
operation would not remain secret for
long. Officials monitoring the feed
from the drone could already see
people on the rooftops of buildings in
Abbottabad talking on cellphones.
Once the two helicopters carrying
the SEALs and bin Laden's body had
safely exited Pakistani airspace, the
first person Obama called was George
W Bush. His predecessor congratu-
lated him and the SEALs.
Obama also called Bill Clinton, the
first American president to have tried
to kill bin Laden, as well as David
Cameron, the British Prime Minister,
whose country had also suffered at the
hands of al-Qaeda. Then Obama called
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
and told him the news. Zardari became
emotional. His wife, Benazir Bhutto,
the former Pakistani Prime Minister,
had been assassinated by al-Qaeda's
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d c r sd i g c St . c o . i n
Taliban allies four years earlier.
Obama's top military adviser, Ad-
miral Mike Mullen, got through to
Pakistani chief of army staff, General
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. "Congratula-
tions," Kayani immediately said. But
he was concerned about the violation
of Pakistani sovereignty and, in effect,
demanded that Obama go out as soon
as possible and explain what had hap-
pened. "Our people need to under-
stand that this was bin Laden and not
just some ordinary US operation."
At 11:35 that same evening, while
cheering crowds gathered in Lafayette
Park near the White House, brought
there by the news that bin Laden
might have been killed, President
Obama walked up to a lectern in front
of the TV cameras. "Good evening,"
he said. "Tonight, I can report to the
American people and to the world
that the United States has conducted
an operation that killed Osama bin
Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, and a
terrorist who's responsible for the
murder of thousands of innocent men,
women and children."
Despite the late hour on a Sunday
night, the speech drew more viewers
than any other in Obama's presidency;
some 55 million Americans tuned
in to hear that bin Laden had been
Half a world away, bin Laden's
corpse was being prepared for burial.
Obama officials wanted to ensure that
there would be no grave that could
become a shrine. They consulted
Islamic experts and found that a sea
burial might be permissible when
there was no land alternative. They
then called Saudi officials and asked
whether the Saudis wanted bin
Laden's body returned to his home-
land. If not, the plan was to bury him
at sea. The US was told to go ahead
with the plan.
The corpse was transported from
eastern Afghanistan to a US aircraft
carrier cruising off the coast of Paki-
stan. Procedures for a Muslim burial
were followed, and then on May 2, at
11:30am 1ST, the 54-year-old Osama bin
Laden was consigned to a watery grave
in the vast Arabian Sea.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 read e rsd i ge s t. CO . i n
Life of Your
Does chilli sauce make you sweat?
Barb Stuckey, author of Taste:
Surprising Stories and Science
About Why Food Tastes Good,
shares what our preferences
Would your dream meal be
French fries and ice-cream?
You might be a survivor of multiple
ear infections, which can damage the
"taste nerves." Instead of experiencing
sensations like bitterness and fattiness
in balance, you may perceive a more
pronounced fatty sensation, making
rich foods extra tempting.
Does dark chocolate
remind you of coal?
You could have damaged your
trigeminal "touch nerve," which
often happens during mouth surgery.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.co.i
r hate 'em,
it's not all
In this case, foods that are both fatty
and bitter — like chocolate — can
come across as simply very bitter.
Would you rather eat soap
Just like colour blindness, you can
also be "smell blind" to various
scents, which drastically affects
taste. Coriander has a very complex
aroma, but coriander haters are
smell blind and just perceive soap.
No wonder it tastes disgusting!
Are you a saltaholic?
There's a chance your mother experi-
enced severe morning sickness while
you were in utero. Because those ba-
bies were dehydrated in the womb,
they seem to enjoy salt more than
other newborns — and the preference
can stick with them for life.
Do you gladly eat
Your mom probably did too. In a
study, toddlers whose mothers had
abstained from all forms of carrots
during pregnancy were ambivalent
about carrot-flavoured cereal. But
toddlers whose mothers had con-
sumed lots of carrot juice immedi-
ately accepted the carrot cereal.
It's assumed that the principles hold
for some other foods too.
Do you recoil from
black coffee or broccoli?
Hello, supertaster! You could be part
of the 25% or so of the population
who perceive the basic taste sensa-
tions of bitter, salt, sweet, and sour
more powerfully than other people.
For supertasters, bitter foods like
black coffee and some vegetables
come across as especially pungent
Does spicy sauce set off fire
alarms in your mouth?
If you have more taste buds, as
supertasters do, you also have more
sensitive fibres, which relay the
sensation of spiciness (that is, pain!).
Does Alcohol Burn off in Cooking?
Whether it's adding a
glass or two of wine to a
pasta sauce or pouring
brandy over pancakes
before flamingthem, the
conventional belief is that
all the alcohol in these
drinks burns off in the
However, research by
the US Department of
Agriculture has found this
is not actual ly true. When
they tested the alcohol
content of meals pre-
pared in different ways,
they found it took about
2.5 hours of simmeringto
remove all but 5% of the
alcohol. Even if you light
the alcohol, as in f lambe
dishes, 75% will remain.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i ge s t . c o . i n
There's just one beauty essen-
tial you must use every day...
BY ALICE H ART-D AVI S
In years of writing about beauty,
I've seen a lot of "miracle
products" that claim to reduce
wrinkles, and turn back the clock.
But there's only one product that
should be by everyone's bathroom
sink — and it's as vital to skin as
toothpaste is to teeth. I bet you're
interested...until I say that it's
sunscreen. But please don't just turn
the page now. And here's why.
We're all familiar with what aging
does to our skin. What we're less
familiar with is the fact that almost
all of those lines and age spots are
there simply because our face has
been exposed to daylight every day.
(You don't get those signs of aging
on your backside!)
I say "daylight" rather than "sun-
light" for a reason. There are two
types of ultraviolet rays that affect
the skin: UVB, the "burning" rays
that give us a tan and UVA, the
damaging "aging" rays present in
daylight all year round, and can
travel through glass. Yes, their
effects stack up slowly, but by late
middle age, they're starting to show.
What sunscreen does for skin is
one of the few issues in the beauty
world that is a matter of fact rather
Mark Birch-Machin, professor of
molecular dermatology at Newcastle
University, UK, has shown that sun
exposure leaves its mark on the DNA
of our skin cells. The DNA remem-
bers the "insults" it gets from UV
light, which, even if tiny, add up to a
"tower of damage" that he likens to a
pile of toy building blocks.
Too late — the damage is done?
Well, yes, but as I hope you're going
to live a good few years more, you
may prefer to keep any future
wrinkles at bay — which is what the
consistent wearing of sunscreen can
do for you. So find a moisturizer that
protects from UVB (the SPF) and UVA
rays (the symbol saying UVA in a
circle, or the label saying the prod-
uct offers "broad spectrum" cover).
And put it on every morning before
you step out. Then forget about it
and get on with the more important
things in life.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e i s d i g e s t . c o . i n
of Breast Cancer
A survivor's tips to avoid judg-
mental people, deal with a crazy
swirl of emotions, and more
BY JACKIE FOX
IThou shalt give thyself time to
think When you're diagnosed,
you may feel like you have to do
something right now. You don't.
Take a deep breath. Slow the spin-
ning in your head before you make
2 Thou shalt honour thy own
feelings, whether shiny and
happy or tired or angry or scared
And don't be surprised to feel all
these things within the space of
15 minutes, several times a day.
3 Thou shalt not judge thy
neighbour's treatment or
reconstruction choices or attitude
I have not seen people in the breast
cancer community judge each other.
The real armchair critics are those
who have never been through it.
Some think you should overcome
your fluffy pink cancer by being all
Number of India
women who will be
upbeat or that you should feel grate-
ful for some life lesson. That's a big
fail. But you may be the naturally
optimistic type. You may actually be
grateful. That's OK too. Telling you
how you should feel about your
diagnosis is like saying you should
be six feet tall or have brown eyes.
4 Thou shalt love thyself as thy
neighbour We women are so
darn hard on ourselves. Give yourself
the same break you would a loved
one going through a big diagnosis.
5 Thou shalt not beat thyself up
You don't have breast cancer
because you ate the wrong things
or didn't breast-feed or exercise
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r ead e rs d ige St . CO. i n
6 Thou shalt allow others to help
thee Your family and friends
want to be able to do something for
you; let them.
7 Thou shalt not bear false witness
against science You may or
may not decide on a certain course
of treatment. (See Commandment
3.) You may or may not have a good
experience. Others can learn from
an honest recounting of your experi-
ences, but that doesn't make you
a medical expert. Celebrities have
a special responsibility here.
8 Thou shalt ask thy doctors
questions "What is the risk if I
do A or B?" or "What does that word
mean?" or "Could you repeat that?" I
Good doctors welcome your ques-
tions and concerns. Not-so-good ones
need to be reminded that there's a I
person attached to the breast.
9 Thou shalt seize the day Cancer
is the elephant in the room. But
sometimes you just have to pat its
big ugly flank and say, "Excuse me,
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readersdigest.CO.in
elephant, but I'm going to the beach,
or the movies, or the backyard with
my kids. I'll catch you when I get
back. Right now, I'm off to have
WThou shalt remember thou
art more than thy cancer
You may be a woman with cancer,
but you may also be a wife, mom,
sister, daughter, employed person,
and friend. Let the extent to which
cancer becomes part of your
identity be your choice.
The habit of eating the same food
most days of the week (for example,
a bowl of corn flakes for breakfast
or noodles for lunch seven days a
week). Having variety in your diet not
only ensures a mix of healthy nutri-
ents but also minimizes exposure to
any toxins in foods that might be safe
in small doses but risky in large quanti-
ties, according to Red book.
Sleeping Pill Linked
enzodiazepines, a widely pre-
scribed class of drug for insomnia
and anxiety, have been linked with
an increased risk of dementia in the
Researchers from the University of
Bordeaux in France found that adults
aged 65 and over who start taking this
type of drug are 50% more likely to
develop dementia within 15 years.
They are not the first concerns about
the safety of these drugs. Previous
studies have linked them to falls and
Many patients take these drugs for
years despite guidelines suggesting short-
term use. The study's authors recom-
mend a more circumspect approach —
doctors should weigh up the benefits of
benzodiazepines and, where possible,
limit prescriptions to a few weeks.
Sniff Away the
Could rosemary oil be the anti-
dote to afternoon sleepiness?
UK researchers from the Brain,
Performance and Nutrition
Research Centre at Northumbria
University exposed subjects to
rosemary oil aroma for different
lengths of time (between four
and ten minutes). They found
that people with the longest
exposure and the highest blood
levels of i,8-cineole (a possible
brain-boosting compound in the
oil) performed better in mental
tests of speed and accuracy than
those with lower levels.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e S t . c o . / n
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BY KELLY MCGONIGAL, PHD
from Psychology Today
cientists have discovered that
willpower is like a muscle that
gets tired from exercise: Our
self-control gets sapped by decisions,
distractions, and stress. But anything
that reduces stress, boosts mood, or
recharges energy can help restore
spent willpower. Treat these "temp-
tations" as strategic indulgences:
Willpower is contagious, research
suggests. Since many reality shows
feature people overcoming obsta-
cles as they lose weight, face their
fears, or organize their clutter,
you can "catch" extra self-control
just by watching someone else
pursue a goal.
The brain uses energy for will-
power. When blood sugar drops,
your brain is less able to concen-
trate, so a small nibble can nudge
the brain back into self-control
mode. Eat protein or fibre for
sustained willpower without
Willpower is often highest in the
morning, when the brain is re-
freshed by sleep. When you're tired,
it's harder to control impulses. A
short power nap — which reduces
stress and improves mood — can dial
back the usual willpower drain.
It's OK to get sucked into a few
minutes of piano-playing kittens.
Research shows that watching a
funny video restores depleted
willpower and can help you get
back on track with difficult tasks.
Caffeine gets a bad rap for causing
energy crashes, but in reasonable
doses, it can reduce stress. Studies
show that small amounts of caffeine
can balance the autonomic nervous
system, making you calmer and
more alert at the same time —
perfect for resisting temptation.
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 rendcrsdigest.CQ.in
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Floral Sleep Fixes
Blackout curtains still not doing the trick? We uncovered
studies that show how certain plants can deepen sleep and
stop tossing and turning
For Light Sleepers: JASMINE
Place one of these varieties on your
nightstand and experience a deeper
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep
cycle: Jasminum polyanthum (a vine-
like plant with tiny flowers; see
right) or Grand Duke of Tuscany, a
variety of Jasminum sambac (a more
shrublike strain) that grows fragrant,
lack a green
For Stressed Sleepers: LAVENDER
This plant's flowery aroma slows
heart rate and lowers blood
pressure. In one study, scientists
sprinkled lavender oil or an
unscented placebo on the bedsheets
of 12 female insomniacs and found
that the women with lavender-
scented sheets slept better and
woke up feeling refreshed.
For Fitful Sleepers: GARDENIA
prescribe it to ^^^^ ^ ^
manage anger and i
Sources: apartmenttherapy.com, freewebs.com
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 readcrsdigest.co.in
is the fastest
Clear your browsing
history Internet browsers
store information about each
website you visit. After a few
days, that data can begin
to slow down how fast
pages load. To delete
your history in Internet
Explorer, hit Tools, Inter-
net Options, and the General
tab. Then, under Browsing History,
click Delete. In Firefox, choose Tools,
Clear Recent History. In Google
Chrome, hit the customize icon,
choose History and Clear All History.
Pare down bookmarks
Limit yourself to 20 or so book-
marks. If you have many more,
delete the least important ones by
going to the Bookmarks menu and
(in Firefox) choose Show All
Bookmarks. When that list ^^
opens, select and copy all.
Then paste them into a I
Word file and save it (say, I
as bookmarks. doe) so you
always have them. Back in
Firefox, delete as many
bookmarks as you want.
With other browsers, this I
may be slightly different. I
Trim toolbars The toolbar at the
top of your browser window
that offers options such as back or
forward can slow down your surfing.
If you don't use a tool several
times a day, delete it. In Firefox,
go to Tools, Add-ons, and Disable
Toolbars. In Internet Explorer, click
Toolbars on the View menu, then
clear the check box for the tools
you want to delete.
Sources: techtips.salon.com, yahoo.com, RD editors
Sharing intimate details about your children on
social media. The practice can begin before birth
with ultrasound images posted to Facebookand
extend to faux first-person Twitter feeds sure to
cause adolescent embarrassment. source: wired
READER'S DIGEST FEBRUARY 2013 r e a d e r s d i g e st . c o . i n
Three of a Kind
Each set of words
below has something
in common. Can you
think of the link?
BY WILL SHORTZ
& THE EDITORS
Example: Hurricane, camera, needle (answer: eyes)
2. Bowling alley
Deck of cards
4. Fishing rod
Person in debt
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